Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Crushed Bones Reveal Literal Dino Stomping Ground

Date:
October 14, 2009
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
A rich dinosaur quarry near Moab, Utah, has one little problem: nearly all the bones are broken. Researchers pieced together what happened and concluded in a new study that the heap of carcasses was trampled while still fresh by big, thirsty sauropods.

The diagonal fracture in the ischium bone of a Venenosaurus suggests the break occurred when the bone was still fresh.
Credit: Brooks Britt / BYU

Imagine the gruesome sound of bones snapping as a thirsty, 30-ton dinosaur tramples a heap of fresh carcasses on his way to a rapidly shrinking lake.

That's the scene revealed by a painstaking analysis of thousands of bones unearthed near Moab, Utah by geologists from Brigham Young University.

So far the researchers have identified 67 individual dinosaurs representing 8 species – and they have only scratched the surface of this diverse quarry. Mysteriously, nearly all of the 4,200 bones recovered so far are fractured, as reported in the scientific journal Palaeo.

"Although enough bones were recovered to assemble several complete dinosaurs, the vast majority of bones are broken to bits and pieces, just pulverized," said BYU professor Brooks Britt, lead author on the study.

The researchers reconstructed how the bones got there and why they are in such bad shape.

The quarry, located immediately west of Arches National Park, contains dinosaurs of all sizes and ages, indicating a massive die-off event. The location of this dense cluster of bones – near the shore of an ancient lake bed – suggests a drought was the cause.

Yet the biggest puzzle was the cause of all the fractures. A closer look revealed that most of the breaks were angled "greenstick" fractures that occur in fresh bones.

The bones broke before they became brittle.

"Some of these bones were almost 5 feet long, and they are green, and you really have to work hard to shatter bone that's still green," Britt said. "That means the big boys were stepping on those things. Those would have been audible, big snaps."

The heavy-footed culprits? Huge, plant-eating sauropods and iguanodontids that stomped more than 100 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous Period. Some of the sauropods from this quarry are cousins to the brachiosaurus.

The bones are now housed in BYU's Earth Science Museum, which will re-emerge as the Museum of Paleontology during Homecoming weekend.

Museum curator Rod Scheetz, a co-author on the study, says the grand re-opening will include the debut of a 9-foot-long triceratops skull from Montana.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brooks B. Britt, David A. Eberth, Rod D. Scheetz, Brent W. Greenhalgh, Kenneth L. Stadtman. Taphonomy of debris-flow hosted dinosaur bonebeds at Dalton Wells, Utah. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Volume 280, Issues 1-2, 1 September 2009, Pages 1-22 DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2009.06.004

Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "Crushed Bones Reveal Literal Dino Stomping Ground." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014102028.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2009, October 14). Crushed Bones Reveal Literal Dino Stomping Ground. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014102028.htm
Brigham Young University. "Crushed Bones Reveal Literal Dino Stomping Ground." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014102028.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

AFP (July 29, 2014) London's "Gherkin" office tower, one of the landmarks on the British capital's skyline, went on sale for about 650 million ($1.1 billion, 820 million euros) on Tuesday after being placed into receivership. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tourists Disappointed to Find Rome Attractions Under Restoration

Tourists Disappointed to Find Rome Attractions Under Restoration

AFP (July 26, 2014) Tourists visiting Italy at the peak of the summer season are disappointed to find some of Rome's most famous attractions being restored and offering limited access. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins