In the frozen wastelands of the Antarctic, paleontologists have found fossils of a dinosaur that they believe are roughly 200 million years old. Back then, the now coldest part of planet Earth was a huge forest, drenched in sunlight with balmy temperatures. It is hard to imagine what life must have been like back then.
William Hammer, who works for Augustana College came across the fossils during a recent expedition back to Antarctica . He and his crew had been there before back in the 1990’s and in the early 2000’s. They knew that there was a potential gold mine of Dinosaur fossils to be found.
The recent fossils belong to a breed of dinosaur never seen before. They believe the creature would have been a four to five foot Ornithischian, or in plain terms, a bird -hipped dinosaur. These dinosaurs would have been the forerunners to the more well known dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus.
The fossils were found at Mount Kirkpatrick, which are located in the Central Trans-Antarctic Mountains , which divide east and west Antarctica . It is the same location that they crew had found precious fossils before. When asked about the current find Hammer said “I do not know if we have a head, but I do not that we have a leg and a foot.” “It will take us a year to get a handle on what we’ve got.”
Hammer and his crew have been at an elevation of 6,600 feet for about 2 months now. Each day teams of paleontologists go out and hunt fossils that are located another 6,000 feet above them. They would arrive at their destination via helicopter.
Experts are hoping that the new find will be able to fill in generational gaps, and help explain the evolution of the dinosaurs, as well and the environment that existed before the frozen tundra’s that we now know as Antarctica.
Hunting fossils in this part of the world is not an easy task. Scientists and their crews have just 3 months to work in each year before the long winter sets in. I am sure it is a relief to all involved when they do finally find something to write home about. When the paleontologists do find something, they know that they have found a new species, simply because almost all of Antarctica is unexplored.
It really makes you wonder what we have here on this planet. There are so many places that have not been explored by humans; you have to wonder just what we might be missing out on. It is sad when we know more about space, and other planets, than we do about our home planet called Earth.
msnbc.com, Dinosaurs been on ice for 200 million years by Eric Niiler