Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tiny Tyrannosaur's Mysterious Origins Divide Scientists

Years before the Mongolian president intervened in the auction of a tyrannosaur skeleton thought to have been illegally taken from that country, a fossilized dinosaur with similarly controversial origins followed a very different path.

Once removed from the rock, the bones of this dinosaur would, to some, reveal the existence of a new species of tiny but unmistakable predator. However, given few clues as to where these fossils came out of the ground, paleontologists have yet to resolve the debate about the dinosaur's true identity.

At a fossil show about nine years ago, a dealer approached Henry Kriegstein, a fossil collector and eye surgeon in Massachusetts, with photos of a block of rock that contained the remains of a small, meat-eating dinosaur curled up in a death pose. Enough of the fossils had been exposed for Kriegstein to suspect he was looking at a juvenile tyrannosaur, and he purchased the chunk of stone and fossil.

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