The bones of a baby dinosaur have been airlifted from the New Mexico Desert by members of the National Guard.
A young Pentaceratops, which was a plant eater, was taken away by a Blackhawk helicopter. The place from which the airlift took place was a desert in New Mexico. Its skull bones which are enshrouded in plaster have been shifted to a cargo truck.
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Also another skeleton of an adult Pentaceratops was similarly shifted to another location. It was a plant eating dinosaur with horns that grew on its large head (which in turn was covered in bony plates).
This curious creature walked the earth and especially North America some ten million years ago. The current fossils were discovered about four years ago. The airlift went smoothly despite poor weather conditions. The mud on the ground was not conducive to shifting the remains of the Pentaceratops.
A third such dinosaur was not transported due to problems having to do with transferring the remains elsewhere. Over 10 adult dinosaurs have been found in the region. The time period during which they were exhumed was the past century or so, according to CNN.
A lot of questions remain though. While adult Pentaceratops have been thoroughly examined before, a baby Pentaceratops has not been under scrutiny for a long time. The differences between the adult version of the beast and the smaller replica will lend valuable clues as to how the creature advanced along its phylogenetic and ontogenetic tree.
Just like other dinosaurs, scientists have found this species to alter its skull as it ages. The Pentaceratops had five horns on its head. It was extant 70 million years ago. The animal resembled a modern day rhinoceros. Its skull and horns may have served other functions besides protection from predators (mating comes to mind).
These lumbersome beasts used to travel in large herds. The skeleton of the baby Pentaceratops is in a fragmentary state due to its having been washed upstream. Some of the bones are thus missing. How it died remains a mystery. Until the bones are analyzed thoroughly, there will be no information forthcoming on how the creature met its match.
The overall procedures that will be followed by the museum curators will be complicated. Thus it will be a long time before the skeleton is ready to be displayed in the museum. Such things have their own rigmarole and the protocol must be followed if everything is to dovetail in the end.