A new dinosaur has been discovered and it has paleontologists excited because it belongs to a lineage of herbivores that no one knew existed. It’s called Chilesaurus diegosuarezi. Its name comes from the country where it was found, combined with the name of the seven year old boy who discovered it.
Chilesaurus was a theropod but, unlike most other theropods, it was a plant eater. It’s also unusual because it had characteristics of other dinosaurs but it belonged to a separate group of dinos. Martin Ezcurra is one of the scientists who worked on the project. He describes Chilesaurus like this, “Its skull and neck look like those of primitive long-necked dinosaurs like Plateosaurus; the vertebrae resemble those of primitive meat-eating theropods such as Dilophosaurus; the pelvis is very similar to that of ornithischian dinosaurs such as Iguanodon; and the hand has only two well-developed fingers as in Tyranosaurus Rex, but with a longer arm.”
It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Aquilops americanus. That’s the small horned dinosaur found in Montana by a team that included Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History paleontologist Dr. Richard Cifelli.
The tiny fossil is now on display at the museum, but what better way to celebrate this historic find than to have your own version…sort of.
We talk a lot about the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History here at SIO. This outstanding story is produced by the museum. It explains what it is, what it does, and how its mission serves Oklahoma.
This is a great look at why the Sam Noble Museum is unique and why Oklahoma is better off because of it.
If you’ve ever wanted to work with fossils and help paleontologists make new discoveries this is the story for you. The Vertebrate Paleontology lab at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa needs volunteers. You don’t need to have any experience, just a love for science. You’ll also get to work with Dr. Anne Weil.
Volunteers work Wednesday-Friday, 9 to 5 sifting through rock and soil looking for fossils.
Dr. Anne Weil is a vertebrate paleontologist at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. Her specialty is looking at a “lost branch of mammalia” called multituberculates. They lived roughly 180 to 30 million years ago. Here’s an example.
She started college wanting to be a novelist but soon found herself taking geology and paleontology courses. Next thing you know she’s paleontologist researching fossilized mammal teeth.
Do you know a high schooler who loves fossils or wants to be a paleontologist? The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History has a fantastic program aimed just for them. It’s called Paleo Expedition and the museum is looking for twelve kids to take part.
They’ll get hands on training at geological and paleontological sites in Oklahoma, including the famed Black Mesa site. Best of all, it’s free. As in $0 to attend! The deadline to apply is March 27th.
But wait, there’s more. The Sam Noble Museum has another program called Oklahoma Science Adventure for students in 6-8th grade. The goal is to show the kids what science is like out in the field. They’ll research fossils as well as live animals. It’s also free!
I really could go on an on about the programs offered through the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum, they also have one just for teachers. But your best bet is to visit the museum’s explorology website. It’s chalk full on information for parents and teachers.
Dr. Richard Cifelli is a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Oklahoma and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. He’s had a very successful and interesting career. He was on the team that discovered the oldest horned dinosaur in North America, Aquilops americanus.
His love of science began like most scientists, as a child when his parents fostered an environment of discovery.