Episode 397: How you can discover fossils

Episode 397: How you can discover fossils. Assets and teams that may assist you to get began in search of fossils. Plus, which instruments to convey, the best way to establish a rock from a fossil, and locations you’ll be able to go to gather them.

You may hearken to our free podcast, with all our episodes, on Apple Podcasts at:

Some sources that will help you discover fossils:

  • FOSSILS: A Information to Prehistoric Life, a e book with many useful pictures and descriptions, plus hyperlinks to extra sources. supply
  • myFOSSIL, a web site that’s “constructing a neighborhood of beginner {and professional} paleontologists.” supply
  • The Fossil Discussion board can assist you ID fossils. supply
  • A PBS webpage itemizing the place you could find fossils in every US state. supply
  • Fossil Explorer, an app that covers fossil localities in England, Scotland, and Wales. supply



The dinosaur of the day: Saurornitholestes

  • Dromaeosaurid that lived within the Late Cretaceous in what’s now Alberta, Canada and the U.S. (Montana, New Mexico, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina)
  • Seemed just like Velociraptor, walked on two legs, had sickle claws, an extended tail, and many feathers
  • Had a shorter, taller, wider, cranium than Velociraptor, and had pneumatic nasals
  • Velociraptor additionally had an extended, decrease, extra slim cranium
  • Velociraptor legs have been about 15% shorter than Saurornitholestes
  • Thought of to be a mid-sized dromaeosaurid
  • Estimated to be 5.9 ft (1.8 m) lengthy
  • Weighed about 22 lb (10 kg)
  • Had longer legs and was extra evenly constructed than different dromaeosaurids
  • Had a comparatively massive mind
  • Had a big olfactory bulb, so in all probability had a great sense of odor
  • Agile and quick
  • In all probability had feathers
  • Had curved, blade-like tooth
  • Had massive tooth within the entrance of its jaws
  • A few of its tooth could have been for preening feathers
  • Two species: Saurornitholestes langstoni and Saurornitholestes sullivani
  • Sort species is Saurornitholestes langstoni
  • Named in 1978 by Hans-Dieter Sues
  • Saurornitholestes sullivani named in 2015 by Steven Jasinski
  • Genus title means “lizard-bird thief”
  • Species title “langstoni” is in honor of Wann Langston, Jr.
  • Species title “sullivani” in honor of Robert Sullivan, who discovered the partial cranium in 1999 in New Mexico (Clive Coy discovered the practically full skeleton in 2014)
  • First fossils present in 1974 by Irene Vanderloh in Dinosaur Park Formation
  • Holotype consists of tooth, elements of the cranium, two vertebrae, ribs, elements of the tail and part of the hand
  • Holotype was lower than 30 bones
  • Might have been the most typical small theropod in Dinosaur Provincial Park (primarily based on a lot of tooth and bones discovered)
  • Extra Saurornitholestes tooth and bones have been discovered than Dromaeosaurus
  • 4 further partial skeletons discovered over the subsequent 25 years, for a complete of 5 skeletons, and never a lot recognized in regards to the cranium till a specimen present in 2014 (lower than 1 km from the place the holotype was discovered)
  • That specimen is almost full, apart from the tail, and exhibits the cranium of Saurornitholestes was shorter and deeper in comparison with Velociraptor
  • Fossils additionally discovered within the Oldman Formation and Two Medication Formation
  • Tooth present in Mooreville Chalk in Alabama, and tooth and a part of a foot present in North and South Carolina, within the Tar Heel, Coachman, and Donoho Creek formations
  • In 2020, John Wilson and Denver Fowler referred cranium materials discovered within the Judith River Formation in Montana to Saurornitholestes (which exhibits it was “biogeographically widespread and occupied each inland and coastal environments throughout the northern parts of the Late Cretaceous Western Inside of North America”)
  • Saurornitholestes sullivani present in New Mexico within the Kirtland Formation in 2014
  • Totally different from Saurornitholestes langstoni as a result of it had a bigger olfactory bulb
  • In 2019, Phil Currie and Dave Evans studied the skulls of Saurornitholestes langstoni
  • The 2014 Saurornitholestes langstoni specimen is “just about an identical to the holotype the place they are often in contrast”
  • The 2014 specimen was at the least 8 years outdated and virtually mature, primarily based on histology
  • Discovered that the holotype of Zapsalis (a dinosaur named in 1876 by Cope primarily based on a tooth present in Montana) was truly Saurornitholestes
  • Extra Zapsalis tooth have since been present in different formations
  • Genus title Zapsalis means “thorough pair of scissors” and species abradens title means “abrading”
  • Currie and Evans stated there could have been at “least two main faunal interchanges between Asia and North America throughout the Cretaceous”
  • North American dromaeosaurids in all probability got here from a distinct lineage than Asian dromaeosaurids, which additionally means Saurornitholestes and Velociraptor have been distinct from one another
  • Saurornitholestes thought of to be Velociraptor langstoni by some scientists
  • As a result of the cranium wasn’t recognized for a very long time, Paul in 1988 synonymized Saurornitholestes with Velociraptor (many individuals didn’t agree)
  • In 2006, Robert Sullivan named Saurornitholestes robustus (species title refers back to the thickness of the bone), primarily based on fossils present in New Mexico
  • In 2014, Dave Evans and others discovered Saurornitholestes robustus to be an indeterminate troodontid
  • Holotype didn’t have any diagnostic dromaeosaurid traits, and have some options present in troodontids, and the scale of the specimen was extra just like higher recognized troodontid fossils present in Alberta
  • Had a “puncture and pull” feeding methodology
  • Angelica Torices and others appeared on the tooth of a number of coelurosaurs to review their feeding habits (Gorgosaurus, Dromaeosaurus, Saurornitholestes, Troodon)
  • Discovered that microwear patterns have been the identical on the small and enormous theropods, so the biting actions would have been related in all of them (puncture and pull, the place they sink their tooth in and transfer again or pulled their heads again to tug out flesh)
  • Discovered the “Troodon” tooth have been in-built a manner they couldn’t deal with struggling prey, or else they’d break, so Troodon in all probability went for small prey
  • Saurornitholestes had distinct serrations on the tooth
  • Serrations on the again fringe of the tooth have been bigger than these on the entrance fringe of the tooth
  • Had a flat tooth with lengthy ridges on the entrance of the mouth, for preening
  • A Saurornitholestes tooth was present in a wing bone of a pterosaur, in all probability a juvenile Quetzalcoatlus (which was a lot bigger than Saurornitholestes, so could have scavenged)
  • Aase Roland Jacobsen described a Saurornitholestes dentary in 2001, and located three toothmarks on the floor. Two of them made by serrations from one other dinosaur’s tooth (too totally different to be Saurornitholestes, and most definitely to be from a juvenile tyrannosaurid like Gorgosaurus or Daspletosaurus, which have been additionally in Dinosaur Park Formation)
  • Bruce Rothschild and others present in a 2001 research that solely 2 of 82 Saurornitholestes foot bones had stress fractures, and a couple of of 9 hand bones had them
  • Different animals that lived across the identical time and place embrace ankylosaurs, ceratopsians, ornithopods, theropods, oviraptors, in addition to turtles and fish

Enjoyable Reality:

Opposite to in style perception, you’ll be able to typically discover fossils in Igneous rocks & metamorphic rocks (not simply Sedimentary rocks).

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