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A Tyrannosaurus rex and a shark as neighbors? Yes, eons ago in South Dakota

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Scientists conducting a recent painstaking examination of the two tons of rock left over after the fossilized bones of the celebrated Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue were extricated in the 1990s came across a surprise: shark teeth.

The huge meat-eating dinosaur did not meet its demise in a shark attack in some sort of “Jaws” meets “Jurassic Park” monster mash. But, scientists said on Monday, when the 40-1/2-foot-long (12.3-meter) Sue died some 67 million years ago, the beast fell into a South Dakota river teeming with sharks – albeit small ones – thriving in the freshwater environment.

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The skeleton of Sue, the largest, most complete and best-preserved T. rex ever unearthed, is displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago, which kept the leftover rock for years in underground storage. That rock has now yielded fossils from other creatures that were Sue’s neighbors including a shark species called Galagadon nordquistae.

Galagadon, related to a group called carpet sharks found in Indo-Pacific seas today, measured 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters) long, with teeth the size of a sand grain, about four-hundredths of an inch (1 millimeter). Tyrannosaurus teeth were up to a foot long (30 centimeters).

If Galagadon ever interacted with Sue, it may have been when the thirsty dinosaur came to the river for a gulp of water.

“It would not surprise me at all if a T. rex individual scared a little Galagadon as it lowered its head to drink,” said North Carolina State University paleontologist Terry “Bucky” Gates, lead author of the research published in the Journal of Paleontology.

If Galagadon resembled its existing relatives, it was a blunt-faced bottom-dweller with barbels by its mouth like a catfish and camouflage patterning.

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“The teeth have an unusual shape with three unequal points and a wide apron at the root. Some of the teeth bear an uncanny resemblance to the spaceship in the 1980s arcade game ‘Galaga,’ which inspired the genus name,” said co-author Pete Makovicky, a paleontologist and Field Museum dinosaur curator.

Scientists also are studying fossils of at least two other shark species from Sue’s river. Virtually all sharks live in the sea, though two freshwater species today reside permanently in rivers and lakes, and some other species venture into freshwater.

“I doubt Galagadon spent its whole life in freshwater habitats,” Makovicky said, suggesting its river may have been connected to an inland sea 100 miles (160 km) away that at the time split North America in half.

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Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler


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75 years ago: When atomic scientist Leo Szilard tried to halt dropping bombs over Japan

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As this troubled summer rolls along, and the world begins to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the creation, and use, of the first atomic bombs, many special, or especially tragic, days will draw special attention.  They will include July 16 (first test of the weapon in New Mexico), August 6 (bomb dropped over Hiroshima) and August 9 (over Nagasaki).   Surely far fewer in the media and elsewhere will mark another key date:  July 3.

On July 3, 1945, the great atomic scientist Leo Szilard finished a letter/petition that would become the strongest (virtually the only) real attempt at halting President Truman's march to using the atomic bomb--still almost two weeks from its first test at Trinity--against Japanese cities.

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‘Insane’: Park ranger shoots unarmed man through his heart and then handcuffs his dead body

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A ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park tased and then fatally shot a man during a New Mexico traffic stop and then handcuffed his lifeless body.

Charles "Gage" Lorentz was traveling March 21 from his work site in Pecos, Texas, to his family's home in southwest Colorado when he detoured at the national park to meet a friend, and that's where he encountered National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell, reported KOB-TV.

The ranger stopped the 25-year-old Lorentz for speeding on a dirt road near the park's Rattlesnake Springs area, and Mitchell's lapel video shows him ordering Lorentz to spread his feet and move closer to a railing.

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Former Trump administration official refers to a renowned Black scholar as ‘some criminal’

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President Donald Trump's former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to renowned Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. as "some criminal" in an interview with The New York Times Magazine.

Sessions, one of Trump's earliest supporters who was later fired after years of attacks from the president, is currently attempting to reclaim his old Senate seat in Alabama. Sessions has desperately tried to tout his Trumpist credentials on the campaign trail, even as the president has waged a campaign aimed at sabotaging his primary bid.

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