Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Ősi, A., Butler, R.J. & Weishampel, D.B. 2010. A Late Cretaceous ceratopsian dinosaur from Europe with Asian affinities. Nature 465: 466–468. doi: 10.1038/nature09019 [link]

"Figure 1: Anatomy of Ajkaceratops kozmai gen. et sp. nov.image from paper.
Ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs) represent a highly diverse and abundant radiation of non-avian dinosaurs known primarily from the Cretaceous period (65–145 million years ago). This radiation has been considered to be geographically limited to Asia and western North America with only controversial remains reported from other continents. Here we describe new ceratopsian cranial material from the Late Cretaceous of Iharkút, Hungary, from a coronosaurian ceratopsian, Ajkaceratops kozmai. Ajkaceratops is most similar to ‘bagaceratopsids’ such as Bagaceratops and Magnirostris, previously known only from Late Cretaceous east Asia. The new material unambiguously demonstrates that ceratopsians occupied Late Cretaceous Europe and, when considered with the recent discovery of possible leptoceratopsid teeth from Sweden, indicates that the clade may have reached Europe on at least two independent occasions. European Late Cretaceous dinosaur faunas have been characterized as consisting of a mix of endemic ‘relictual’ taxa and ‘Gondwanan’ taxa, with typical Asian and North American groups largely absent. Ajkaceratops demonstrates that this prevailing biogeographical hypothesis is overly simplified and requires reassessment. Iharkút was part of the western Tethyan archipelago, a tectonically complex series of island chains between Africa and Europe, and the occurrence of a coronosaurian ceratopsian in this locality may represent an early Late Cretaceous ‘island-hopping’ dispersal across the Tethys Ocean.

Thanks to TH for the heads up!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A new paleo blog!

There is a new paleo blog on the block - Jurassic Journeys by Dr. Matt Bonnan - who stopped by the museum today with some of his former and current students on their way to the Hanksville-Burpee quarry in Utah. It was nice to show them around our collections and have a chance to talk with everyone. Sounds like they are off to another great start at the HBQ. You can find out more about the dig in this video:

On a related note, we began opening the Mygatt-Moore Quarry today and will be back out in the field tomorrow (if we can get the rain to knock it off). Our first official day of work is a week from today! It will be here before we know it!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hand lens + cell phone vs. DinoLight

Callan Bentley recently introduced many of us to the idea of using your cell phone with a hand lens to get macro images (he saw this on at Microecos and Myrmecos). Callan and Chris used a iPhone, which I sadly still do not have. Silver Fox tried a 2MP HTC 6800 phone. I have an LG enV, so I tried that. Below are the results with my phone + 1 hand lens.

Dryosaurus caudal vertebra (ventral view), taken with an LG enV phone and a hand lens.
I was pretty happy with the outcome.

I decided to try to take a picture of the same vert with our new "DinoLight" [here is a review of the camera]. John recently purchased this to try an get some better macro pictures of his trilobites than we were getting with our default camera. Below is the same vert, taken with the scope camera:

Dryosaurus caudal vertebra (ventral view), taken with the "DinoLight"

Not too surprising, the scope camera worked somewhat better. It can be a tad on the touchy side when focusing, but over all it is pretty easy to use. I just wish the resolution was a little better. It is also nice to know that your phone and the hand lens will work in a pinch.

Just for fun, here is another fossil that happened to be in reach... under the DinoLight:
Tiny mammal jaw (Morrison Formation, upper Jurassic of Wyoming) mounted on pin head.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Glacier!!

100 years ago today President William Howard Taft signed a bill establishing Glacier National Park as the 10th park in the United States of America! The good folks at Glacier National Park Centennial have put together a nice timeline here where you can read about the last 100 years of Glacier's history.

Mt. Gould with flowers in July of 2005.
 Glacier National Park was originally inhabited by the Piegan Blackfeet tribe in the east and the Flathead tribe in the west. The Piegan reservation now borders the park to the east and the Flathead tribes can be found the west and south of the park.
One of my favorite historic pictures from the park.

Also taking place in 1910 the Great Northern Railroad commissioned 9 chalets and tent camps be built in the national park, using the slogan "See America First." The first the Belton Chalet, was open for business on June 27th, 1910. The Great Northern Railroad also built a permanent rail station in the town of Belton, now known as West Glacier. The railroads publicity and building efforts help to make Glacier assessable and a popular travel destination. Today many of these lodges are still operating.

Glacier Park Lodge, East Glacier, Montana. This lodge opened on June 15th, 1913. The Blackfeet Indians, from which the land for the lodge was purchased, named the new lodge “Omahkoyis” or  “Big Tree Lodge".

"The immense timbers that support the Lodge were probably 500 to 800 years old when they were cut and all of them retain their bark. There are 60 of them, 36 to 42 inches in diameter and 40 feet long. The timbers in the lobby are Douglas fir and the verandahs are supported by Cedars from Washington." [link]
 Glacier Park Lodge 2008

Historical Many Glacier Hotel, which opened to the public on July 4, 1915.

The 100 year anniversary will be continuing all year. I hope you all have a chance to visit this wonderful park! You can read some of my other Glacier related post here.

Lake McDonald

Happy Birthday GLACIER!! 
Looking down from above Grinnell Glacier, to the east. From upper to lower: meltwater pond on Salamander Glacier, meltwater pond on Grinnell Glacier, Grinnell Lake, Lake Josephine, and Lake Sherburne in far distance.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster