Dinosaurs have captivated the human mind since the discovery of the first fossils in the mid-1800s. These creatures had a unique world that we can only imagine, and we are learning more about it every day.
A major discovery was made a few years ago, when the mummified body of a hadrosaur was found. This mummy, named Dakota, is the most well preserved specimen to ever be found. It has given scientists new insight into the world of dinosaurs. Dakota is the first fossil to be found which still has muscles intact, which means that scientists have a much better idea of how the dinosaur looked, and also how it moved. Scientists have learned that they underestimated the amount of muscle mass the hadrosaur had, and therefore also underestimated how fast it could move. By studying the mummy, scientists learned that the hadrosaur could actually run faster than the tyrannosaurus rex. Scientists have also learned that the dinosaur did not have the coloring that it had been thought to have previously. Instead of the bock like pattern that scientists have hypothesized, this dinosaur had a stripy type of pattern, perhaps to act as camouflage. Dakota was so well preserved that scientists have been able to examine cell-like structures, which still existed in the dinosaur’s skin. Though slightly decayed, these cells have given scientists a breathtaking glimpse at the past.
Recently a dinosaur skeleton, which had been discovered 24 years ago, was identified as a new species. It was a groundbreaking discovery, as this new species was a link between the North American and Asian dinosaurs. The new species of dinosaur was named Cerasinops hodgskissi and has been kept at the Museum of the Rockies since it was discovered.
Another missing link was found in China recently. The fossil is a bird-like dinosaur with four wings, which scientists believe is part of the transition from dinosaurs to birds. The evolution from dinosaurs to birds has been difficult for scientists to study, due to the fact that there are very few fossils from this time period. The fossil of the Anchiornis huxleyi is one of the most well preserved fossils of its species, and has proven that scientists came to an incorrect conclusion when they classified the species as a primitive bird. In actuality it is part of a group of dinosaurs, which are closely related to birds. This fossil is helping scientists to better understand dinosaur evolution.
These three stories are only a handful of the recent dinosaur discoveries made by scientists. There have been many new things learned about dinosaurs in recent years, and there are many more things left to discover. As long as paleontologists continue to dig, we will continue to learn more about dinosaurs, and the world they lived in.