Episode 396: How T. rex was found and how it changed paleontology. David Randall author of “The Monster’s Bones: The Discovery of T. rex and How It Shook Our World” joins us to discuss T. rex, Barnum Brown, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and how they helped shape our perception of paleontology.
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David Randall, a senior reporter at Reuters and the author of several books, including “The Monster’s Bones: The Discovery of T. rex and How It Shook Our World”. Follow him on twitter @dkrandall
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The dinosaur of the day: Draconyx
- Styracosternan ornithopod that lived in the Late Jurassic in what is now Portugal (Lourinhã Formation)
- Looked kind of like Iguanodon, with a bulky body and short arms and long tail
- Relatively small, compared to relatives, bipedal, and a possibly a fast runner
- Estimated to be between 9.8 to 13.1 ft (3 and 4 m)
- Had leaf-shaped denticles (serrations on the teeth)
- Had long, claw-like unguals on its hands, but did not have a spike thumb
- Had gracile feet
- First toe was shorter and less robust than other toes
- Type species is Draconyx loureiroi
- Found in 1991, and housed in the collections of the Museu da Lourinhã
- Described in 2001 by Octávio Mateus and Miguel Telles Antunes
- Genus name means “dragon claw”, and refers to the claw material found
- Species name is in honor of João de Loureiro, a priest and pioneer in paleontology in Portugal
- Filippo Rotatori and others reevaluated Draconyx in 2022
- Described unreported forelimb material of the holotype, and redescribed the holotype
- CT scanned the fossils
- Carlos Anunciação, who discovered the dinosaur had additional holotype material in his collection at home, and recently donated to the museum
- Thought to be a camptosaurid, now considered to be a styracosternan iguanodontian (others include Camptosaurus, Iguanodon, Mantellisaurus, which were much larger)
- Holotype includes a partial skeleton, no skull (includes two teeth, chevron, part of the humerus, astragalus or ankle bone, metatarsals or foot bones, the forelimb, and more)
- Holotype about 30 years old, based on histology (considered to be a senile individual)
- Left femur later referred to Draconyx, but then referred to Ankylopollexia indet.
- Based on histology from a 2017 study by Katja Waskowa and Octavio Mateus, holotype specimen was between 27 and 31 years old
- One of the oldest species of Styracosterna, which may mean Styracosterna originated in Europe
- Possible that basal styracosternans were bipedal and fast runners, then later became bigger and quadrupedal
- Other dinosaurs that lived around the same time and place include the carcharodontosaur Lusovenator and the ankylosaur Dracopelta
Barnum Brown was named after Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum, known for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus, but Barnum Brown was also given the nickname “Mr. Bones” because he was so good at finding fossils.
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