Ossified hadrosaur discovered.

WP: Paleontologists have unearthed the mineralized soft tissue of a hadrosaur, complete with skin and flesh. It was spotted by sixteen-year-old Tyler Lyson in North Dakota back in 1999. Now a graduate student in paleontology at Yale, he returned there in 2004 to dig it up. Granted, this isn’t as cool as the tyrannosaur soft tissue discovered in 2005, but that’s setting the bar pretty high. The specimen will presumably end up at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, established by my great-great-great-great uncle, George Peabody, for his nephew — my great great whatever — O.C. Marsh.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

7 replies on “Ossified hadrosaur discovered.”

  1. The T.Rex “soft tissue” find (2003-2005) was recently written up, by NC State researcher, Mary Schweitzer in the April 2007 edition of Science. It turned out to be preserved collagen, a component of bone. Apparently protein can be preserved for at least 70 million years under very unique circumstances. Collagen is tough stuff!

    Ever since this unusual find the Creationists have latched onto it as proof that the earth isn’t old and that dinosaurs were buddies to early man or something…so in August, a guy named “Desertphile” did a video rebuttal called Tyrannosaurus Rex ‘soft tissue’ Creationist lie…he appears to be a mule skinner with graduate level training in the sciences.

  2. I wonder what that T. Rex tissue tastes like.


    But first you have to bag one. I believe this requires a 50 BMG, or T.Rex will be wondering what you taste like.

  3. Bubby,

    I’ve actually put a lot of thought into that over the last few years.

    50 BMG? I dunno, depends on where you are hunting the T. Rex. .50 BMG is a good round for very long range sniping because of the high ballistic coefficient of the bullet. Makes for excellent long range accuracy. But the rifles are extremely heavy. Like, 40 pounds or so. If you are dealing with any sort of brush or cover or visibility of less than 200 yards or so then I wouldn’t use it. A T-Rex could probably cover 200 yards faster than you could even realize that it was there. Meanwhile, you’ve got this 40 pound rifle pointed in probably the wrong direction and you can’t hope to shoot it accurately off-hand if you happen to be on your feet. You’ve got to drop to the prone position and set up the bipod and by then it’s a moot point because the T Rex will have eaten you while you were fiddling with your rifle.

    I would suggest a classic African hunting cartridge like .458 Lott or .470 Nitro Express. Rifles chambered for those cartridges obviously kick like hell, but they can point fast for off-hand shooting within 200 yards. Energy and bullet weight don’t match the .50 BMG, but with non-expanding solid bullets you should still have plenty of penetration to punch through into a T. Rex’s vitals. Besides, you don’t need the accuracy of .50 BMG for game this size. A T-Rex’s heart/lungs area must be the size of a Mini Cooper. You don’t need competition level accuracy to hit that.

  4. What about penetration? How thick is the skin of the T-Rex? I have no idea, but if the heart/lung area is the size of a mini-cooper and you are shooting even a .50 BMG at it, I’m not sure it will do any good. Wouldn’t you have to move up to some other type of projectile weapon? Grenade launcher?

  5. Well, here is what we know. The T.Rex has an estimated running speed of 25 mph – not that fast, but still you don’t to have to try and outrun her. A decisive kill is required. T. Rex is a predator, so you would expect to find it where other animals gather.

    I would hunt it near (but not too near) a watering hole, preferably in a overhang, hole, or cave opening, using an ambush technique. I agree that .458 Lott (loaded with something weighty like a 600-grain round) would be prudent. What is uncertain is the extent of external plating and armoring, although recent Creation scholarship suggests that it has soft pony fur. We have to remember that you would be vulnerable to the fast velociraptor while dressing out your kill, so I agree, a light, easily maneuvered rifle is the best course.

    In actual fact, I believe that all Dinos were probably taken by teams of early man, probably sturdy Mormons, with sniper cover, and RPG or M72LAW team assistance. I’m planning on visiting the Creation Museum to conduct research on how our proto-Christian brethren conducted their Dino hunts and will report back.

  6. Boxer,

    I don’t know about the skin. All we can really look to is bullet performance on thick-skinned animals that are alive today. Take rhino, elephant and giraffe (the giraffe actually has the thickest skin of any mammal). The existing range of solid bullets have plenty of penetration to deal with all of these animals. In fact, it’s not uncommon for .470 Nitro Express bullets to pass completely through cape buffalo and elephants. Even if T-Rex has skin that’s 4 inches thick, the bullets will reach the vitals.

    Grenade launchers and that sort of thing would not work well. Those are munitions that won’t penetrate deeply into the dinosaur. They’d just do a phenomenal amount of damage near the surface and make it very, very angry.

    Bubby is thinking right about the watering hole as a good tactic to start with. You could use the .50 BMG for such an ambush if you were backed up by someone else with a .458 Lott double or something of that nature such that any surprises can be dealt with more swiftly than the .50 BMG could be in position for. Remember that if you are hunting T. Rex, you are apparently in T. Rex country and could easily run into the beast unexpectedly while on your way in or out of the ambush.

    Other thoughts about hunting/shooting/eating a T. Rex:

    – Probably there is only one sure shot to stop a charging T. Rex at close range. The hole made by any existing bullet capable of penetrating that deeply into the dinosaur’s body would be so small relative to the size of the heart that the T. Rex would likely be able to follow through with the charge before the heart fails to the point of no longer providing adequate blood supply to the brain. So heart shots are out. A shot to the brain would also be very unlikely to succeed. Think about how big the head is and given the angle you’d be shooting at, there would be something like 4 or 5 feet of bone to pass through in order to get at this target that is smaller than a human brain. The hips and pelvis are too well-protected by the forward-leaning stance of the animal to even hope to hit it there and stop it from running. Your best bet at that point is a spine shot through the neck. This is probably your *only* hope if the thing is running straight for you.

    – The shanks of the arms would be some mighty good eatin’. They look like they are rarely if ever used. Very tender meat right there. I bet it’s like alligator meat only far more tender.

    – Field-dressing the thing would be the stuff of nightmares. You’d need a whole team of people. The taxidermy bill would be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

    – Best to start out hunting the hadrosaurs. Similar shots and stance to the T. Rex but far less personal danger. And we’ll know more about them thanks to this new fossil find. You get good at dropping hadrosaurs with 1 or 2 shots and then you’re ready to move up to the larger carnivorous bipeds.

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