A UT paleontologist is helping uncover a treasure trove of fossils from the age of dinosaurs in a seemingly unlikely place: the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
A volunteer holding a piece of tibia (shin bone) from a Protohadros, a type duck-billed dinosaur.
Discovered in 2003 in Arlington, Texas, by amateur fossil hunters Art Sahlstein, Bill Walker, and Phil Kirchoff, the fossil site—now known as the Arlington Archosaur Site (AAS)—preserves a nearly complete ancient ecosystem ninety-five million to 100 million years old in an area undergoing rapid residential development.
Stephanie Drumheller-Horton, an assistant adjunct professor in UT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, is a member of a team of paleontologists working to excavate and research the AAS. She is joined by Chris Noto, assistant professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside; Thomas Adams, curator of paleontology and geology at the Witte Museum in San Antonio; and Anthony Fiorillo, chief curator of earth sciences and vice president of research and collections at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.While most of Texas was covered by a shallow sea at this time, the Dallas-Fort Worth area formed a large peninsula that jutted out into this sea, creating a lush environment of river deltas and swamps that teemed with wildlife, including dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, mammals, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and plants. Many of the fossils found on the site represent species previously unknown to the world.
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