STL Science Center

STL Science Center

10 June 2016

A Forgotten First

Ten years ago Salgado and Gasparini described Antarctopelta oliveroi exactly twenty years after it was discovered on James Ross Island in Antarctica. In 1986 dinosaurs from Antarctica were not a thing. Antarctopelta constitutes the first dinosaur fossil remains recovered from the continent. A number of other dinosaurs have also been unearthed in Antarctica, including Cryolophosaurus. The majority of the fossils are even less known and more forgotten than Antarctopelta. The timing of naming the dinosaur most likely led to these circumstances; Cryolophosaurus was named eight years after the discovery of Antarctopelta rather than twenty years. Our final illustration for the week is something of a capstone on the two well known Antarctican dinosaurs. A week and five years ago Alain Beneteau was featured in a post with two drawings of Cryolophosaurus. neither of which could have included an Antarctopelta meal for the large theropod. Geography and time separated the two dinosaurs by approximately 110 million years. There were certainly food items for the theropod and predators of the giant herbivore in their respective times, but no battles played out between the two. Our final Antarctopelta of the week shows how lonely its fossils are at the moment. Much of Antarctica is still unexplored though and more fossils could be uncovered in the future.

©Alain Beneteau

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