Monday, May 22, 2006

Harry Potter's New Dinosaur

Today paleontologist Robert Sullivan of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will make an announcement of interest to both dinosaur lovers and Harry Potter fans.

Dr. Sullivan will announce a newly discovered dinosaur species, "Dracorex Hogwartsia", which salutes the fictional "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" in the Harry Potter books.

Astute Harry Potter fans already know the derivation of "Dracorex", as its root word in Latin can be found in the Hogwarts motto, "Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus", which translated into English means "Never tickle a sleeping dragon". Draco is Latin for "dragon" or "snake".

The dinosaur, a member of the pachycephalosaur family, had a flat skull with spiky horns, bumps and a long muzzle. Other pachycephalosaurs had domed foreheads. The original skull is on display at Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Three Sioux City, Iowa residents who found the 18-inch-long skull in South Dakota donated it to the museum in 2004, before it was named. "When we found the skull, all that was showing was a little of the snout and some teeth," said Steve Saulsbury, one of those who found the skull. "But as we excavated more of it, it was clear we had something unique." link