It may have been just a small finger bone, but scientists at the University of Oregon have recently confirmed that they have discovered the first ever dinosaur fossil that dates back 100 million years to the Cretaceous period.
According to the report from Eugene Register-GuardThe finger bone was discovered for the first time in the summer of 2015, when Professor of Earth Sciences Greg Retallack from the University of Oregon observed it in the small town of Mitchell in eastern Oregon. It is believed that the tiny fossil belongs to the edible ornithus, which measured at least 20 feet in length and weighed about a ton. The dinosaur is thought to exist about 103 million years ago, more or less at the same time as frightening Tyrannosaurus rex.
"This bone was sitting there with all the rocks. It was quite surprising," Retallack said Register for the guard.
"There was no need for excavations. He sat among ammonites and fossils curled up.
University of Oregon Museum of National and Cultural History paleontological manager Edward Davis, who worked with Retallack in a study documenting the find, said the ornithos could spend most of their life in the water before dying on land and flushing to the sea.
As further noted Register for the guardthe fossil was only one inch long and two inches wide and was found in the sea rock. Retallack said it was unusual because the same rocks previously contained fossils of flying and sea reptiles, but there is no evidence of dinosaurs in this place.
"It's Christmas": a scientist finds a rare dinosaur bone in Oregon https://t.co/rrJyLnGKxo pic.twitter.com/SX6fdrjezv
– KGW News (@KGWNews) November 17, 2018
For the next three years following the initial discovery, Retallack teamed up with a group of scientists at the University of Oregon to conduct further research on the fossil and confirm whether it was indeed a dinosaur bone or not.
After the Museum of National and Cultural History of the University of UO, curator of paleontology, Samantha Hopkins examined the fossil and concluded that it belonged to an ornithologist, scientists returned to the discovery site to obtain additional documentation. Retallack then compared bones to dinosaur fossils in various North American museums to finalize the team's findings and get a "really good idea of what [the fossil] it was and what it was not. "
The UO team completed their research in October 2017 and waited a year before the study was fully verified and published on the Internet. Journal of the Pteontology Paleontology.
"[The toe bone was the] the first diagnostic fossil of nonavian dinosaurs from Oregon, a state in which the Mesozoic rocks are mostly marine. This discovery is a new proof of Cretaceous terrestrial environments and fauna in Oregon, "reads the article quoted Register for the guard.
While it is unclear whether the same place in Eastern Oregon is home to other dinosaur fossils, Retallack pointed to another potentially interesting find in the same area, although he refused to share the details of the newer discovery. As for the bones of the fingers, this Eugene Register-Guard he wrote that he would probably appear in the history of UO acquisitions in the Museum of National History and Culture in December, and at the beginning of next year he was presented at an exhibition on how Oregon was not a traditional habitat of dinosaur fossils.