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Denver Museum T Rex exhibit

8 June 2024
Geology, Palaeontology

William sent in an MSN link to this story – and an accompanying note from an old friend with connections to the museum. His friend began by saying the Denver Museum was closer to the North American outcrops of the K/T boundary event = end of Cretaceous, than any other major museum. Indeed, the region around Denver itself, and within Denver, has many dinosaur fossils. When excavating foundations for new buildings construction workers commonly come across such fossil bones. They are being dug up all the time. However, this new exhibit in the museum has an interesting story. You can find it at https://www.dmns.org/catalyst/museum-stories/teen-rex-discovery-roars-into-denver/ … the discovery of a young T Rex buried in what was once flowing sediments, is a rare find, it would be seem, as adult T Rex tend to be the fossils most commonly retrieved. The young victim of a disaster was actually discovered by three juvenile humans – in the Badlands of North Dakota. They saw some very big bones sticking out from rocks belonging to a sedimentary layer. The children, ages 8,10, and 11, were on a fossil hunting expedition – we are told. They took  photographs of the bones protruding as a result of weathering of the sedimentary rock formation. One of their father’s got into contact with Denver Museum. They were later excavated – after removing overlying rocks.

At https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/06/240604132049.htm … a large pterosaur fossil from the Jurassic period has been unearthed in Oxfordshire – on the other side of the pond. It had an estimated wing span of 3 metres. It was excavated from a gravel pit near Abingdon on Thames. It was found in an exposure of late Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay, a geological bed that stretches from Dorset in a band that lies mostly beneath later geology the width of lowland England. Mostly, it is covered by more recent geology – a goodly proportion of which is Cretaceous [chalk etc]. It does come to the surface at Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset, and in this instance, the gravel pit exposed it. Bones of ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and a goodly mix of marine animals such as ammonites, bivalves, crocodiles, and sharks etc. Why a pterosaur? They are land based animals with wings that could have glided them to safety – yet here they are mangled up with marine life. Is the key the clay deposit itself? Is this evidence of a  tidal wave at the Jurassic boundary?

See also https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2024.05.002 … for the research paper itself. The same story is at https://phys.org/news/2024-06-gigantic-jurassic-pterosaur-fossil-unearthed.html

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