Friday, May 29, 2009

Fossil of the week: 5/29/09

This past week I was attending the 8th Conference on Fossil Resources in St. George, UT. The second group of talks all focused on the Campanian aged flora and fauna of the western interior. A few brief mentions of the poor neglected duckbill dinosaur fauna were made, but I wanted to share with you an image of one that I'd love to find: "The duckbill that ate Manhattan!" Paleo Tech Jacob Jett (6'4" tall, shown back in his younger days) is shown for scale.

This isolated rib bone was discovered in the upper Judith River Formation (Campanian aged) in the summer of 2004 while excavating a centrosaurine horned dinosaur called "UTC". Isolated duckbill skeletal remains are not uncommon at dig sites. In fact, juvenile hadrosaur jaws have been found at both our  "Joyce" and "Pete 3" sites in the same area.

Unfortunately, isolated postcranial remains on hadrosaurs aren't very diagnostic, so it is impossible to say which critter this rib belongs to. It is a good deal longer than our longest rib on "Big Ed", the 34 foot long Edmontosaurus annectens that is now on display in Korea. I'd estimate the body length of this duckbill to be at least 40 feet.

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