Friday, November 5, 2010

3 Dimensionalizing a Saurodon

Finally an update on a specimen I discovered back in 2006. Tony I (named after my father) is a completely exploded Saurodon skull and pectoral fin assembly. Saurodon is an ichthyodectid fish (related to Xiphactinus, Saurocephalus, Gillicus, Ichthyodectes and of course Prosaurodon) that had a peculiar chin spike, in this case over 6cm long. The teeth are like mini flat knife blades. This specimen was discovered disarticulated at about MU 18-19 in the Niobrara Chalk of Logan County, Kansas. The locality is surprisingly high in the Niobrara, I have found several specimens of a later relative (Saurocephalus lanciformis) in the rock layers immediately above this specimen. Below you can see the predentary along with one of the premaxillas.Nasty, but luckily not articulated like the majority of Saurodon leanus specimens in other institutions. No, Tony I looked like it swallowed a hand grenade, kinda like the ending of the movie Jaws 3. That's just how we like to find them. Preparation shows that the majority of the skull is present. The missing bits will be reconstructed based off of our Ichthyodectes ctenodon reconstruction. Be sure to stop by the museum and check in on the project. We hope to have the prototype skull assembled by Thanksgiving!

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