Duckbilled dinosaur mummy may help shed light on its biological secrets

December 3rd, 2007 - 3:44 pm ICT by admin  

London, Dec 3 (ANI): The mummy of a duckbilled dinosaur unearthed in the United States has palaeontologists extremely excited, as it might help shed light on the biological secrets of dinosaurs.

The samples that have been found are that of the mummified hadrosaur, a duckbilled herbivore that lived 67 million years ago, shortly before the dinosaurs became extinct.

The remnants are in such a good condition, with its skin almost entirely intact, that it can allow scientists to study dinosaur proteins and even DNA, providing unprecedented clues to their life cycle and development.

The dinosaurs remains were discovered entangled with those of a prehistoric crocodile-like creature called Borealosuchus, which scientists believe may have died while scavenging on its carcass.

The team that is studying the specimen is led by Phil Manning, of the University of Manchester.

It could be that this Cretaceous crocodile died at the same time, Times Online quoted Manning, as saying.

The croc might have crawled inside the dead animal and got stuck, he added.

Tyler Lyson discovered the dinosaur in 1999 in Hell Creek, North Dakota, and it was excavated five years later.

The discovery is that of a young adult hadrosaur of a relatively common species called Edmontosaurus and has been nicknamed Dakota.

This animal had a big arse. Its hind limbs would have been a lot more powerful than we thought. It would have had one hell of a kick, Manning said.

We have found biological matter, and we are confident of getting good results. If it proves to be organic, that could be the first, Manning said.

Dino Autopsy is due to be shown on the National Geographic Channel on Dec 8.

Earlier, Utah and California researchers at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah had unearthed a new duck-billed species of dinosaur in rocks of the Kaiparowits Formation.

They announced the name of the creature Gryposaurus monumentensis (Gryposaurus meaning hook-beaked lizard, and monumentensis in honour of the monument where the fossils were found).

Scott Sampson, a palaeontologist with the Utah museum who was involved with the project, said the creature could be described to as the Arnold Schwarzenegger of duck-billed dinosaurs. (ANI)

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