Il blog dedicato ai Paleontologi !!!!

2009-01-11 – Paluxysaurus could be the Texas official state dinosaur

Texas Legislature may name new species the official state dinosaur

 12:00 AM CST on Saturday, January 10, 2009By DAVID FLICK / The Dallas Morning News

The Texas Legislature may vote this year to give long-overdue recognition to one of the state’s oldest residents.
How overdue? And how old?

 About 110 million years.

Rep. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth submitted a bill this week that would officially designate paluxysaurus as the state dinosaur of Texas.

The bill would also strip that status from pleurocoelus, a sauropod that held the title for the geologically insignificant period of 10 years.

The change was made after Peter Rose, a former graduate student at Southern Methodist University, published a paper in 2007 concluding that bones found near the Paluxy River in Central Texas had been misidentified.

The bones in question were discovered near Glen Rose in 1997.

They were immediately hailed as the remains of pleurocoelus (pronounced pluro-SEE-lus), a 60-foot-long vegetarian weighing up to 45 tons. The first specimens were discovered 100 years ago in Washington, D.C.

When similar bones were found in Texas in the 1990s, they received statewide attention, and the Legislature followed with the official designation.

The bones were placed on prominent display at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, until they were removed a few years ago for renovation.

In the meantime, Rose’s research found paluxysaurus (pronounced pah-luxy-SAH-rus) to be a previously unknown species.

He was modest when asked Friday for his reaction to Geren’s bill.

“I think it’s good to have some attention paid to all the work on the project,” said Rose, who is now working on his doctorate at the University of Minnesota.

Geren’s staff directed questions to officials at the Fort Worth museum, who pushed to have the designation changed.

“We felt that we just want the designation to be accurate,” said Aaron Pan, the museum’s science curator.

And, as always, there is Lone Star pride to consider.

“We had to share pleurocoelus with Maryland and Virginia,” Pan said, “but paluxysaurus is unique to Texas – as far as we know.”



gennaio 11, 2009 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, Curiosità, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , | 1 commento

2008-10-25 – Texas, Usa: Mega Paleo-parco tematico in progettazione (EarthQuest, dinosaur-themed project)

Pronto progetto per un nuovo grande parco tematico dedicato ai Dinosauri a Houston, nel Texas.

Prevista costruzione a cavallo della statale 59, con l’area ad est dedicata allo studio e all’esposizione dei reperti, e quella ad ovest invece all’intrattenimento dei visitatori.


What is EarthQuest?: Unearthing the massive dinosaur-themed project

Kingwood Observer

Updated: 10.22.08

To describe the new EarthQuest development planned for U.S. Highway 59 as solely an amusement park or a dinosaur museum would be wrong.
“All the details are designed to show how people can live without destroying the environment,” Lessem said. “Would this be done by Disney, this would be driven by commerce. Our brand is nature and we want to celebrate the beauty of the environment.”
Lessem reiterated that the project is not a replacement for Houston’s old Six Flags AstroWorld that closed its doors in 2005, but a completely new entertainment experience.
Also planned for EarthQuest’s western development are three hotel sites, a zoo, ropes course, retail entertainment zone and treehouse lodging. The retail and entertainment zone is said to be similar to the Universal Studios City Walk in Los Angeles with retail shopping, dining and live music.
To the east of U.S. 59 is a residential community that will have about 1,500 single family homes, according to the developer John Marlin of Marlin-Atlantis, the company that owns the 1,600 acres for the proposed site. The homes and the institute will work hand-in-hand by allowing researchers and scientists to implement green technology directly into the homes. This will give researchers a testing ground in their own back yard to see if new implementations are effective. According to an interview with Marlin, he said the home sites will be a 15- to 20-year project.

The idea for this monstrous dinosaur project was the original conception of Lessem. Lessem said he had been working on the project five to six years before the East Montgomery County Improvement District came into the picture. He began the search for a location to build his facility, eventually deciding on East Montgomery County.

The New Caney area beat out 74 communities from 19 states, according to Frank McCrady, EMCID president and CEO. The original idea was a 50-acre site for the museum and institute. The project snowballed from there after EMCID hired Baker-Leisure, a consulting and management company for theme parks out of Orlando, to conduct a demographics study of the Houston area.

“Our conclusion was that Houston is a very strong market,” said Doug Rutledge, vice president of business development at Baker-Leisure. “Houston is one of the last major metropolitan statistical areas that lacks a major theme park or an amusement park.”

Rutledge concluded that Houston was a “strong destination” that would set it apart from other markets.

Following Rudledge’s study, McCrady said all signs pointed to a combined museum institute and entertainment destination. That was October 2007.

“The biggest transition we made was going from a museum to a full-blown destination resort,” McCrady said. “It’s continuing to build; it gets bigger every day.”

The project, though, might not have even gotten off the ground had the New Caney Fire Department decided to increase the sales tax from the current half a penny to one cent. The EMCID board feared the increase in sales tax might drive away the developers of EarthQuest and ultimately the whole project. To compensate the fire department, EMCID issued New Caney FD a unique loan.

“They offered to provide us with $1.5 million for the next five years,” said New Caney FD Chief Jeff Taylor. “We would not have to pay it back until the tenth year.”

According to the guidelines, the fire department is required to pay EMCID back the interest-free loan assuming there is substantial growth in the area. Assuming the dinosaur park goes through, there should be enough revenue generated to repay the loan. If there is not growth, then the department does not have to repay the loan.

“It’s a win-win for the residents,” Taylor said. “One way or the other, the residents benefit from EMS and fire.”

McCrady said a meeting tentatively scheduled for Nov. 13 at the EMCID Complex in New Caney will bring EarthQuest’s details into even more perspective when Lessem and others will show off their designs.

EMCID has also set a target date of Dec. 12 to attain $7 million in bonds for the development of the western portion of the project.

The EMCID board is loaning Marlin-Atlantis the $7 million for pre-development costs of the construction, according to McCrady. The expenses include fees for accounting, engineering, design and master planning.

The EMCID board will be repaid half of the bond once Marlin takes out the construction loan. McCrady said the construction loan is expected to close summer to fall 2009. The remaining $3.5 million will be paid five years after the construction loan closes in 2014.

The EarthQuest Institute, which was originally going to be helped by $50 million from EMCID, is going to run and be financed as a nonprofit entity. The fundraising needed for the institute has yet to get underway, according to Michael Dimengo, the president of Sage Fundraising Solutions LLC. The firm, based out of Jacksonville, Fla., is in charge of raising the $80 to $100 million needed for the project.

“This is a huge green initiative with a study of the earth and its past,” Dimengo said. “We are just in the preliminary stages of the fundraising.”

Sage is in the process of identifying people for an advisory board to oversee the fundraising.

Lessem and his design team of more than 100 people are deep in the development phase for the institute. Lessem said they are in “a second phase of design to be finished in a month’s time.” Lessem hopes to have a website for the EarthQuest Institute up and running soon.

The Marlin-Atlantis team is finalizing their plans as well with regards to the for-profit part of EarthQuest.

“We’ve never done a project like this,” Marlin said. “Things are going very well and we are on schedule.”


 (click the link to see the map)



ottobre 25, 2008 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, America Northern, Italiano (riassunto), Paleontology / Paleontologia, Parchi tematici | , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-17: La verità sui molari di mammuth ritrovati dopo l’urgano Ike (Mammoth)

Si è scoperto che i molari di mammuth ritrovati qualche settimana fa dopo il passaggio dell uragano Ike provengono dalla collezione di uno studioso che tornato dall’evaquazione ha soperto di essere stato “rapinato dall’uragano” !!!

precedente post:

2008-10-02 – Uragano Ike scopre resti dell’era glaciale in Texas, USA (Mammoth, Ice Age – Mammuth)


More to story of mammoth fossil found after Ike

By DIANA HEIDGERD Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press

Oct. 16, 2008, 4:35PM

An elephant expert whose Texas beach home was destroyed by Hurricane Ike is putting his collection back together — one tooth at a time.

Roy Davis evacuated his Bolivar Peninsula home on Sept. 11, two days before Ike slammed the Texas coast.

Davis, 57, said Thursday that among the items scattered out of his one-bedroom house were prized animal keepsakes from his years working at zoos.

“I probably had 30 pieces of modern-day elephants, they shed their teeth, they wear them down,” Davis said.

Two treasured elephant teeth have now been returned to Davis, after media reports about what appeared to be an unusual fossil find on the beach.

Davis says he lived a couple of doors down from Lamar University educator Dorothy Sisk, whose house in the community of Caplen also was destroyed by Ike.

Sisk and a Lamar colleague, paleontologist Jim Westgate, went to the area a few days after the Sept. 13 hurricane to see what was left of her place.

They came upon a 6-pound tooth that Westgate recognized as a fossil from a mammoth common to North America until around 10,000 years ago.

The second tooth, from an African elephant, was discovered Oct. 4 on the beach by a reporter doing a story on the original find.

Eventually, the teeth made it back to Davis after media accounts surfaced about a fossil possibly washing ashore.

Davis, superintendent of Lake Houston Park, is making his interim home in a travel trailer since Ike.

Davis has had the mammoth’s tooth since the mid-1980s when it turned up at a construction site in Tyler. At the time Davis was head elephant trainer at Caldwell Zoo.

Davis, a Moore, Okla., native, says the African elephant tooth came from when he was working at the Oklahoma City Zoo. An elephant named Timboo died in the 1970s.

“Since I was the only one that could handle the animal at the time, they gave it to me as a remembrance of the elephant,” he said.

As for the rest of his elephant items?

“They’re still somewhere on the beach down there,” Davis said. “None have shown up yet. They may. If they don’t, they turn up 10-15 years from now.”

Westgate was glad to return the mammoth fossil to Davis.

“All the houses in Caplen are no longer there. It’s kind of neat that he got something back after that total loss,” said Westgate.


 previous post:

2008-10-02 – Uragano Ike scopre resti dell’era glaciale in Texas, USA (Mammoth, Ice Age – Mammuth)


Other links:

Dallas Morning News – 9 ore fa
AP An elephant expert whose Texas beach home was destroyed by Hurricane Ike is putting his collection back together – one tooth at a time.
More to the story of mammoth fossil found after Ike
KDBC – 22 ore fa
AP – October 16, 2008 2:35 PM ET HOUSTON (AP) – An elephant expert whose Texas beach home was destroyed by Hurricane Ike is putting his life back together
Mammoth fossil found after Ike returned to owner
The Associated Press – 6 ore fa
DALLAS (AP) — An elephant expert whose beach house on the Texas Gulf Coast was destroyed by Hurricane Ike is putting his collection back together — one
Bolivar man says his elephant keepsakes will wash up
Houston Chronicle – 21 ore fa
By DIANA HEIDGERD AP Brian Sattler AP Jim Westgate, a Lamar University paleontologist, displays a fossil mammoth tooth that he found on the Bolivar




ottobre 17, 2008 Posted by | - Ice Age, - Mammiferi, 1 Olocene b, America Northern, Curiosità, Italiano (riassunto), P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-15 – Texas, USA: Rifugio per mammiferi fossili (Eocene, mammals, Diablomomys dalquesti)

Nuovi resti fossili testimoniano la permanenza di mammiferi in Texas nell Eocene in un periodo di “stress climatico”


New Fossil Reveals Primates Lingered in Texas; Climate Provided Refuge for Diminishing Population

October 13, 2008

E-mail this article

AUSTIN, Texas — More than 40 million years ago, primates preferred Texas to northern climates that were significantly cooling, according to new fossil evidence discovered by Chris Kirk, physical anthropologist at The University of Texas at Austin.


Kirk and Blythe Williams from Duke University have discovered Diablomomys dalquesti, a new genus and species of primate that dates to 44-43 million years ago when tropical forests and active volcanoes covered west Texas.

The researchers have published their discovery in the Journal of Human Evolution article, “New Uintan Primates from Texas and their Implications for North American Patterns of Species Richness during the Eocene.”

During the early part of the Eocene epoch, primates were common in the tropical forests that covered most of North America. Over time, however, climatic cooling caused a dramatic decline in the abundance and diversity of North American primates. By the end of the Eocene, primates and most tropical species had almost disappeared from North America.

Kirk’s discovery of late middle Eocene (Uintan) primates at the Devil’s Graveyard Formation in Southwest Texas reveals new information about how North American primates evolved during this period of faunal (animal) reorganization.

“After several years of collecting new fossils, reviewing Texas’ primate community and comparing it to other places in North America, we found a much more diverse group of primate species in Texas than we expected,” Kirk said. “It seems that primates stuck around in Texas much longer than many other parts of the continent because the climate stayed warm for a longer period of time. While primate diversity was falling off precipitously in places like Utah and Wyoming during the late middle Eocene, west Texas provided a humid, tropical refuge for primates and other arboreal (tree-inhabiting) animals.”

The anthropologists named the new primate Diablomomys dalquesti, combining “Diablo” to represent the Devil’s Graveyard Formation (sand- and mudstones near Big Bend National Park) with Omomys, a related fossil genus. The dalquesti species name honors Walter and Rose Dalquest, who donated the land on which the fossil was collected (Midwestern State University’s ‘Dalquest Research Site’). Walter was a Texas paleontologist and distinguished biology professor at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls until his death in 2000.

For more information, contact: Christian Clarke Casarez, Office of Public Affairs, 512-471-4945; Chris Kirk, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology, 512-471-0056 (office), 512-636-2634 (cell).

  Related Stories:



update 2008-10-21 11:23 Italy

Environment News Service
Fossil Reveals Ancient Primates Took Refuge in Texas
Environment News Service – 59 minuti fa
AUSTIN, Texas, October 20, 2008 (ENS) – More than 43 million years ago, when tropical forests and active volcanoes covered west Texas, primates chose to

ottobre 15, 2008 Posted by | - Mammiferi, - Primati, 6 Eocene, America Northern, Lang. - Italiano, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-02 – Uragano Ike scopre resti dell’era glaciale in Texas, USA (Mammoth, Ice Age – Mammuth)

Hurricane Ike yields ice-age discovery




When Lamar University professor Dorothy Sisk returned to her beachfront home in Caplen, she knew there would be little left.  Instead, she was part of a discovery of something that tells a different story of Texas’ continually changing coastline.

Taking little with her when she evacuated before Hurricane Ike, she searched through what few belongings were strewn about —a bowl, a broken vase, a scrap of fabric.

“She picked up a couple things,” said LU colleague Jim Westgate, who had volunteered to drive her to the site in his pickup.  “We searched through a little scrub forest across the highway and she recognized a few things.”

All that remained of the home west of Rollover Pass were scraps of concrete and splintered pilings.

“It was while we were looking at the house, or at least what was left of the foundation, that I saw it lying there with lots of shell debris in what had been the front yard,” Westgate said.

What Westgate, a trained paleontologist and a research associate with the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory at the University of Texas Memorial Museum, recognized was the fossil tooth of a mammoth.

“This is the first one I’ve found in 19 years,” Westgate said. “People bring in pieces and parts from the beach for me to identify, and I haven’t seen one in this good a condition.”

The 6-pound tooth, which resembles a series of boot soles or slices of bread wedged together, is most probably that of the Columbian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), a species common to North America until around 10,000 years ago, Westgate said.  Ancestors of the modern elephant, mammoths and mastodons roamed the continent in large numbers.

Their fossil teeth are easily distinguished from one another by the grinding surface, Westgate said. Mastodon teeth are bumpy, and resemble a series of steep mountains and deep valleys, whereas mammoth teeth are flatter and well-suited to grinding. The diet of the mastodon is believed to have comprised leaves, bark and fruits, whereas mammoths were predominately grazers.

Like modern elephants, mammoths grew a total of six sets of teeth during their lifetime, ejecting worn teeth “like a shotgun, loading a newly formed tooth in its place,” Westgate said. The discovered tooth is unworn, so it was either newly erupted or a “tooth in waiting” when the animal died, Westgate said.

How likely is it to find fossils in the area?  “It is pretty common after we’ve had storms,” Westgate said. “McFaddin beach is a hot spot with local collectors.  After a storm, or when a blue northern has blown in and the water is pushed way off shore, they will go down the beach looking for fossils.”

What they’re likely to find are examples from the fossil record of a world much different than the seascape of today, Westgate said.  The area is well known for fossil mastodon, mammoth, ground sloth, tapir, camels and other late Pleistocene (Ice Age) mammals.

Russell Long, professor emeritus of biology at Lamar from 1951 to 1979, had an extensive collection of fossils from the area and supervised a master’s thesis by Jeffrey Russell in 1975 that detailed the megafauna of the region documenting a wide array of extinct animals including the above, as well as saber-toothed cats, early horses and more.

Westgate said the fossils likely come from ancient stream channels where the bones collected when the land that is now beachfront was 100 or more miles inland.

But don’t expect every bone you find to be a genuine fossil. “A lot of time you can’t tell if it’s a fossil or not,” Westgate said. “Bison bones look just like cow bones. If you bury a cow bone in that dark mud it stains pretty quickly. So, the ones we know for sure are at least 10,000 years old are the ones that are extinct locally, like mastodon, mammoth, ground sloth, tapir and camels.”

Also, don’t expect to find complete skeletons or easily recognizable skulls. Mammoth skulls, while massive, are fairly fragile. It is unlikely, Westgate said, that such structures would have survived intact. “Skulls look pretty solid on the outside, but really they are thin bone,” he said. “Teeth tend to survive the process.”

The fossil will join the collection of the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin and “Dorothy’s address will actually be the site locality for this specimen. Normally we don’t have house addresses for our fossil localities,” he said.

“There are stream channels sitting off shore waiting to be excavated by storm waves,” Westgate said.

While those future storms will bring their share of loss, they may also bring discovery.


Other links (news) :

Giant tooth discovered in paleontologist’s home – 3 ore fa
A giant tooth was discovered by two paleontologists in the wreckage of a Texan home destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Dorothy Sisk, a scientist at Lamar
Big fossil found in paleontologist’s yard post-Ike
The Associated Press – 11 ore fa
CAPLEN, Texas (AP) — A paleontologist whose beachfront home in Texas was destroyed during Hurricane Ike has found a football-size tooth in the debris.
6-pound fossil tooth found at Ike-damaged Caplen
Houston Chronicle – 16 ore fa
AP Texas News © 2008 AP CAPLEN, Texas — Hurricane Ike took a bite out of some Texas beaches and in one case revealed a 6-pound tooth.
Big fossil found in paleontologist’s yard post-Ike
Centre Daily Times – 11 ore fa
– AP CAPLEN, Texas — A paleontologist whose beachfront home in Texas was destroyed during Hurricane Ike has found a football-size tooth in the debris.
Hurricane Ike yields ice-age discovery
Lamar University – 18 ore fa
When Lamar University professor Dorothy Sisk returned to her beachfront home in Caplen, she knew there would be little left. Instead, she was part of a

ottobre 3, 2008 Posted by | - Ice Age, - Mammiferi, 1 Olocene b, America Northern, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , | 1 commento

2009-09-22 – Pleurocoelus o Paluxysaurus jonesi ?

Updated dinosaur exhibit set for science museum



About 112 million years ago, in the early Cretaceous, Fort Worth and the land stretching out to the West was home to dinosaurs. Pleurocoelus, a huge four-legged herbivore with a long neck and tail, was about 50 feet long and could weigh 10 tons and more.

Pleurocoelus was well known in Texas for its washtub-sized footprints, visible around Glen Rose, Texas. In 1997, the 75th Texas Legislature named the dinosaur the state dinosaur.

There’s just one problem.

More research and new fossils being discovered by scientists, including professionals from the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, have discovered that the bones thought to belong to Pleurocoelus really belong to another species of dinosaur, Paluxysaurus jonesi.

The newly-discovered bones and the updated knowledge about Texas’ dinosaurs will be an integral part of the new museum building, slated to open in fall 2009. The new museum will cost $75 million, including a new planetarium and an operating budget, but about $1.5 million is budgeted specifically for a new dinosaur exhibit.

The new exhibition, which has the working title of “Mysteries of the Texas Dinosaurs,” will bring back parts of the previous exhibit, named “Lone Star Dinosaurs,” as well as more hands-on components.

The $1.5 million to be spent on dinosaur-centered exhibits is a reinvestment of a $1.2 million grant that the museum received in 1999 from the National Science Foundation, said Charlie Walter, chief operating officer. That grant, awarded through a competitive process, allowed the museum to build an exhibit that placed visitors in the role of scientists, finding fossils and then using clues to prompt questions and learn more about where the animals came from and the life they led.

“It wasn’t dinosaurs just for the sake of dinosaurs, it was using dinosaurs for the sake of the scientific process,” Walter said.

The new exhibit and its fossils will be the result of a collaboration between local and national organizations. The Robert Reid Studio, based just outside Fort Worth, previously helped in the articulation of a dinosaur for the museum and is contributing again to the articulation of the Paluxysaurus. Design Island, from Orlando, also is helping with the exhibit, which will be the only exhibit in the world to show an articulated Paluxysaurus skeleton, Walter said.

The Paluxysaurus bones were found, as the name might imply, near the Paluxy River in Hood County. The last part of the species’ name refers to the Jones Ranch, where the bones were found. The recent find has researchers excited, and they are thinking of revisiting the topic of Texas’ state dinosaur to update the information with the new knowledge, said Aaron Pan, curator of science for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

Researchers from the museum and Southern Methodist University worked for several weeks a year over eight years to unearth the new dinosaur skeleton fragments, said Walters.

“In Jurassic Park, when you see them brushing off a whole animal — that’s Hollywood,” Pan said.

Instead, parts of a skeleton are found, jacketed with plaster to protect them, then large portions of the surrounding rock are broken out of the ground with the bones inside. Labor-intensive work in labs results in the bones being either set free or exposed for exhibition.

Walter said working with a local studio and SMU made sense economically.

“You can imagine what it might take to ship several thousand pounds of dinosaur bones back and forth across the country,” he said.

After the bones are ready for articulation they are sent to Reid Studios, said owner Robert Reid. There he puts them together in a giant framework to support both the real bones, which make up a portion of the displayed skeleton, and the fiberglass or cast bones, which fill in where real bones are missing, he said.

“We’re supplying the engineering and, you might say, the artistry,” Reid said.

Paluxysaurus now is believed to be the animal that left the giant washtub-sized footprints in Glen Rose, and so the famous tracks will be paid tribute in the new exhibition.

“We’re going to mount that animal in a track way that mimics the Glen Rose tracks,” Reid said.

Recognizing the dinosaur remains throughout Texas at the museum is important, Walter said, because the museum is one of the few places in the world to have easy access to such rare fossils. In fact, Pan said, between dinosaurs and marine fossils, Fort Worth is a fantastic place both to find and see fossils, and the general public frequently alerts the museum staff to fossil finds. After a museum determines whether a find is actually a fossil and not just a curious rock, staff can recover it from the ground and store it until it can be further researched, he said.

“There are so many fossils that some of them are still jacketed,” Pan said.

The new exhibit will reflect the most recent knowledge about local dinosaurs, and perhaps in the future more will be invested to re-imagine the ancient Texas landscape.

“It’s sort of the emerging story of science — the more things change, the more you learn,” Walter said.


settembre 22, 2008 Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, - Sauropodi, America Northern, Mostre & Fiere, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento