Sunday, April 09, 2006

Seven-foot "turkesaur" roamed Utah

The announcement this week of the discovery of fossils a new dinosaur made me appreciate the educational value of travel. The reptile, hagryphus giganteus, is believed to resemble a seven-foot turkey. Based on this despriction, I'm glad I don't have to worry about coming across it:

Oviraptors had simple feathers, winglike arms, powerful legs, long claws, and powerful, toothless beaks for shearing through food.

What caught my attention the most is the discovery of the species in Utah. Unexpectedly, I learned last summer that Utah has been a treasure trove of dinosaur fossils. For the past few summers I've helped chaperone groups of high school students on a tour of the West. On one leg of the trip we stopped for lunch in Price, UT. Another chaperone and I decided to skip lunch in favor of a walk downtown. We walked right to the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum. Not a big place, but good displays. The star attraction is the Utahraptor, whose remains were first found in eastern Utah during the 1990s. Love those dino stories.

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