Stories tagged Tyler Lyson

Dec
04
2007

Welcome to Buzz blog

Hundreds of new visitors came to our Buzz blog last week because their google search for "dinosaur mummy" pointed to my post titled Fossilized dinosaur mummy gets x-rayed. The internet buzz this week is about another dinosaur mummy. A hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, was discovered in 1999 by then-teenage paleontologist Tyler Lyson on his family's North Dakota property. It is not really a mummy (dried tissue), but a fossilized mummy (composed of rock).

"This specimen exceeds the jackpot," said excavation leader Phillip Manning, a paleontologist at Britain's University of Manchester."

Why fossil dinosaur mummies are rare

"First the dinosaur body had to escape predators, scavengers, and degradation by weather and water. Then a chemical process must have mineralized the tissue before bacteria ate it. And finally, the remains had to survive millions of years undamaged." National Geographic

Dinosaur mummy prompts new modeling

CT scans of the hadrosaur's fossilized muscle mass and computer modeling leads scientists to speculate that Dakota (the name given to this dinosaur mummy) could run 28 mph. This makes sense because hadrosaurs were being chased by the Tyrannosaurus rex which topped out at about 20 mph. Scientists warn that errors in computer modeling can be 50 per cent, though.

Could there be DNA preserved in Dakota?

Most scientists refused to comment until their finds are published and undergo the scrutiny of peer review. Peggy Ostrom, who studies how organisms are related to each other, commented only in general terms.

"It's rare to find an articulated skeleton and even more so to find one with fossilized soft tissue,"
"If such finds show extraordinary preservation, they tempt us to wonder about the possibility of finding [unfossilized] biomolecules that might be remnants of the ancient organism."

Kristi Curry Rogers from our Science Museum of Minnesota has commented on "the preservation of identifiable fossil proteins" in this Buzz post.

Want to learn more about mummy dinosaurs?

Video: Dinosaur Mummy Found
National Geographic News article: dinosaur mummy, Dakota
National Geographic: dinosaur main page