Monday, December 03, 2007
A very rare fossil find - a hadrosaur fossilized so completely that its skin, tendons, ligaments, and other soft structures can be studied - is undergoing a CT scan at a Boeing facility normally used for large rocket engines and the like. The fossil "mummy" was found in the Hell Creek formation in North Dakota. Among the most interesting items in the research to date is that a calculation of the animal's lean muscle mass yields an estimate of the hadrosaur's top speed at 28mph. One paleontologist noted this would enable it to outrun predators like Tyrannosaurus rex, although the speed and hunting habits of the T. rex are a matter of some debate.