STL Science Center

STL Science Center

20 January 2012

Bad Jokes Will Not Be Welcome.

©Nobu Tamura 2007
I will try to keep bad jokes to a minimum, but it is hard to control your friends and readers sometimes. This week's dinosaur was found in the not so distant past by a student from SUNY Stonybrook by the name of Kristina Curry Rogers. Dr. Rogers was with a team in Madagascar working toward her doctorate researching titanosaurs and one of the fruits of the team's labor just happened to be the skeleton of a new titanosaur later realized to be the largest Cretaceous titanosaur which was named Rapetosaurus. Rapetosaurus krausei (Krause's mischievous giant lizard- named after the dig team's leader David Krause) is one of the most intact titanosaur finds man has ever found including a complete skull and a nearly complete post cranial skeletal structure. This titanosaur discovery revolutionized the study of these animals in many ways. Notably, the skeleton can now serve as a baseline for estimates and can answer many questions about the evolution and role of titanosaurs in their environment that were merely conjecture prior to this based on incomplete skeletons. Titanosaurs were the equivalent herbivores in the southern continents of the hadrosaurs in the norther continents. This discovery and the ongoing research around titanosaurs will help to better understand their exact nature as the dominant herbivores of the Cretaceous Southern Hemisphere.

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