STL Science Center

STL Science Center

04 January 2013

A Good Old Boy

Restoration illustrated by Michael B.H.
If you are not aware of the slang in the title for any reason then you should know that it is typically used as a negative, but at times can be used in a positive way, to discuss Southern US politics or biases. Today, however, I am using it only to refer to a old denizen of the South. Comprised of a number of bones from the skull, vertebral column, pelvic girdle and the majority of its hind limbs, Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis was discovered in Alabama in Late Cretaceous, approximately 77 million years ago, rocks. Named after Montgomery County and the mountain chain (Appalachian Mountains) and island content (the continent of Appalachia) which also derived its name from the mountain chain,  Appalachiosaurus is a juvenile specimen of an East Coast tyrannosaur species making this the second Eastern US tyrannosaur that has been covered as a dinosaur of the week as well as being the second discovered, though much more recently than the previously discussed Dryptosaurus. The reason that this specimen is thought to be a juvenile has to do with unfused bone, which we will look at later in the week. The remains were first described and named in 2005 and its description left out a few other animals, making its position on the family tree, as it has not been redefined since the discovery of these other tyrannosaurs, rather questionable. However, Appalachiosaurus will certainly get its due going over this week, and as such perhaps we can look into this family tree issue!

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