Monday, February 14, 2005

Dr. Peter Dodson Describes New Sauropod From Montana

Dr. Peter Dodson of the University of Pennsylvania is the lead author of a new article in Acta Paleontologica Polonica describing a new sauropod, the 50-ft long Suuwassea emilieae, that lived 150 million years ago not far from the Sundance Sea. It is a smaller relative of Diplodocus and Apatosaurus and is the first named sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic of southern Montana.
"Suuwassea is the first unequivocal new sauropod from the Morrison Formation – a 150-million-year-old geological formation extending from New Mexico to Montana – in more than a century. It has a number of distinguishing features, but the most striking is this second hole in its skull, a feature we have never seen before in a North American dinosaur," said Peter Dodson. “While its Diplodocus relatives have a single hole on the top of the skull related to the nasal cavity, paleontologists have yet to come up with a plausible use for this second hole."