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T. rex skull ZoomDinosaurs.com
Dinosaur
News
Paleocene Dinosaur Found!
A Duck-billed Survivor of the K-T extinction
July 27, 2000

Duck-billed Survivor
Although it has been generally agreed that the remaining terrestrial dinosaurs went extinct during the K-T mass extinction 65 million years ago, a recent find in the western USA seems to indicate that there were some survivors. A single dinosaur bone was found in sediment that dates from roughly 64-58 million years ago, during the Paleocene epoch, which was the beginning of the Tertiary Period. This is the first dinosaur fossil found that dates from after the K-T extinction, 65 million years ago.

J. E. Fassett, S. G. Lucas, R. A. Zeilenski, and J. R. Budahn have found an isolated hadrosaurid (a duck-billed, plant-eating dinosaur) femur (thigh bone) in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone of the San Juan Basin in New Mexico and Colorado, USA. The find was dated by the Paleocene epoch pollen that was in the sedimentary level (3 m) below the dinosaur bone.

Duck-billed Dinosaurs
The duck-billed dinosaurs are also called hadrosaurs (which means heavy or bulky lizards). These plant-eating dinosaurs had a wide, flat, toothless beak, hundreds of cheek teeth and powerful jaws. Their hind legs were large and each limb had four digits.

Hadrosaurid, were the biggest ornithopods (a type of ornithischian or bird-hipped dinosaurs). They could walk on two or four legs. These plant-eaters lived during the late Cretaceous period (and perhaps later) Maiasaura, Edmontosaurus, Hadrosaurus, etc. were hadrosaurs. The hadrosaurs evolved from the iguanodontids.

Reference
Fassett, J. E., S. G. Lucas, R. A. Zeilenski, and J. R. Budahn. 2000. Compelling new evidence for Paleocene dinosaurs in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone, San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado, USA., Catastrophic events and mass extinctions, Lunar and Planetary Contribution No 1053. Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston.

Related Links
A chart of geological time.

Information on mass extinction and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Information on the hadrosaurs (the duck-billed dinosaurs).

Creatures and climate of the Cretaceous period, which immediately preceded the Paleocene epoch.

Other fossils found in North America.




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