Dinosaur Bones Discovered In Denali National Park For The First Time

Posted: Oct 19 2016, 9:12am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 19 2016, 9:25am CDT , in Latest Science News


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Dinosaur Bones Discovered in Denali National Park for the First Time
Image of a well-preserved footprint in Denali National Park. Credit: Pat Druckenmiller

The discovery of bone fragments reflect that the region of Alaska was once populated by dinosuars

Dinosaur fossils have been discovered in many parts of the United States before but it is the first time when the fragments of dinosaur bones are uncovered in Alaska’s Denali National Park. In addition, several well-preserved footprints are also found embedded on rock sediments that had been left by the dinosaurs walking on the once muddy ground. The discovery of bones and footprints means that dinosaurs used to live millions of years ago in what is now Alaska.

"Finding these bones opens a new chapter in the story of Denali dinosaurs.That story is still being written as we find new sites, new kinds of dinosaurs and evidence of their behavior." Pat Druckenmiller, curator of Earth sciences at the University of Alaska Museum said in a statement.

Druckenmiller, who is also the leader of the expedition, was excavating at the site of Denali National Park earlier this year when he stumbled across the fossil remains buried in the ground. The team is hoping to find many more fossils in the site over the course of next several years.

"This marks the beginning of a multi-year project to locate, document and study dinosaur fossils in Denali National Park," said Druckenmiller. “This is a world-class site for tracks of dinosaurs and other animals that lived in Alaska during the Cretaceous Period. Now that we have found bones, we have another way to understand the dinosaurs that lived here 70 million years ago.”

Dating back to Late Cretaceous period, the fossil consists of four different fragments of bones with the largest one being measured less than few inches long. Based on the shape and structure of these fragments, researchers determined that these fossil remains clearly belong to a larger animal, in particular a large duck-billed dinosaur.

“The nice thing about the bones is they help you actually tell what kind of a dinosaur you have living in a particular area.” Druckenmiller told Alaska Dispatch News.

Since the first dinosaur footprint was recognized in the Denali National Park in 2005, researchers had believed that the fossils must had been hidden somewhere in the park. Still, it is the first time when researchers have been able to uncover identifiable dinosaur bones, providing the first ever solid evidence of the existence of dinosaurs in the region.

“It is significant because it answers a question that has been standing for the past 11 years; 'Are there dinosaur bones preserved in the Cantwell Formation?” said paleontologist Cassi Knight, a physical science technician for Denali National Park.

“We have a great record of dinosaur inhabiting this area and now we finally know that their bones are preserved, too."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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