Sunday, September 14, 2008

Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy

Today is "Prehistoric Sunday" on the Discovery Channel. They are playing some of their older shows, such as Walking with Dinosaurs" and others today as they lead up to "Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy." From the DC website [link]:

"Leonardo" was found in Montana almost fully intact. Ninety percent of his body is covered in skin. We know what he ate for his last meal. What makes this so impressive? Leonardo is a 77 million-year-old dinosaur. Discovery Channel reveals what is unquestionably one of the most unexpected and important dinosaur discoveries of all time in the one-hour high-definition special Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy, premiering Sunday, Sept. 14, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).

Discovered in 2000 by a team of amateur paleontologists exploring Malta, Mont., Leonardo -- named for graffiti found near his burial site -- is the first dinosaur mummy with intact digestive tract contents ever found. With this once-in-a-lifetime finding, scientists now have more than just bones to fully reconstruct how dinosaurs looked and lived. From the cause of death to Leonardo's last meal, scientific tests provide far more detail than the team of scientists ever expected. Skin impressions and actual fossilized samples of the digested food still inside the viscera, plus skin and joints, allow the team to create the first reconstruction of a giant dinosaur, accurate both inside and out.

Leonardo is a young Brachylophosaurus, a four-legged plant-eating duck-billed dinosaur, the very first juvenile of the species discovered with extensive skin. He was approximately 3 to 4 years old when he died and would have been 20 feet long, weighing about 2,000 pounds.

From high-tech testing of Leonardo's remains, scientists have positively identified what a plant-eating dinosaur ate -- something that has never been done before. Leonardo's last meal consisted largely of leaves, which included ferns, magnolias and conifers. Additional analysis has confirmed at least 40 different types of prehistoric plant pollen preserved in his stomach. Since most dinosaurs were herbivores, this find is an incredibly important step in learning more about the creatures' lives on the planet.

Another finding that was only possible due to Leonardo's intact remains is the strong evidence for a crop. Modern plant-eating birds have crops to aid in the digestion process, but there was no evidence of the possibility that dinosaurs may have also had crops until Leonardo was unearthed. This startling discovery has led to new theories of how these creatures lived.

Leonardo will be on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in a specially created exhibit -- Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation -- beginning Sept. 19, 2008."

Let me know if any of you watch this. I would love to hear what you thought of the show....


Anonymous said...

It was pretty good. The animation wasn't the best, but then again I have seen far worse. We've all heard about how this dinosaur may have preserved organs, but seeing them x-ray the mummy and find actual evidence of organs, that was exciting. And of coarse, Bakker's line: "I've always wanted to be a paleoproctologist." Overall, it was one of the better dinosaur programs in recent memory.

Unknown said...

Rebecca. I would very much like to correspond with Nate Murphy. I met him once at a gem and mineral show in Billings. I suspect like the Larsons of Hill City S. D.(cf. Sue) he might have gotten railroaded, but I would like to hear his side of the story. Could you please connect me up with him. I don't know where he is of late. Mana

Bridger said...

Hi, my name is Bridger the Dinosaur Boy. I am 7 and I found your blog. I was interested in the dinosaur mummy so my dad looked it up and showed me your blog. I have my own dinosaur blog that I been writing for 2 years. Thanks for writing your blog.


ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

Very good blog Bridger! Keep up the good work! I am glad you found my post. I hope you enjoyed it! I like Sprite too ;)

Anonymous said...

i have seen the mummy dinosaur leonardo lots of times and i know nate murphy. nate is a kind friendly man that for sure knows all about dinos. it has always been so nice to go to malta and visit with nate, my husband and i loved to stope at the reserch station and see the displayes and visit with nate, nate always took the time to vsit with us and and as dino bone diggers our self what we found that we diden't know just what it was nate would try to tell us what the bone was from. we wish nate the best of luck and may god bless him with health and happiness. frona and joe fileccia.glendive mt. we miss you nate,,,

Anonymous said...

Though this isn’t exactly in the realm, curious if anyone’s has checked out the new book “Hell’s Aquarium” by Steve Alten? It’s an awesome read. It’s about the ancient prehistoric shark Megalodon, which makes the current Great White Shark look like a gold fish. I am currently reading it now. Check out the trailer below, pretty awesome:

Anonymous said...

Joe and Frona have no education on anything related to paleontology.
It is quite funny to read about their findings. Very self absorbed and full of themselves.
This is fact.