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Monday, April 1, 2013

70 million years ago, give or take a few



Well, it wasn't on a Tuesday, but Dick and I, with our dog Lindy, recently visited Dinosaur Provincial Park near the small town of Patricia, Alberta.

Like other parts of Alberta that consist of similar territory, Dinosaur Provincial Park's unique terrain is known locally as "badlands."



In the third and fourth photos here, the Red Deer River can be seen running through the park, eventually to join up with the South Saskatchewan River, which flows past our town and through the city of Medicine Hat.

Here, many fossils have been found of a dinosaur with long legs and short arms, which once roamed this area. 


It is called Albertosaurus (meaning "Alberta lizard") is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived in western North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, about 70 million years ago.


The type species, A. sarcophagus, was apparently restricted in range to the modern-day Canadian province of Alberta, after which the genus is named. Scientists disagree on the content of the genus, with some recognizing Gorgosaurus libratus as a second species.

As a tyrannosaurid, Albertosaurus was a bipedal predator with tiny, two-fingered hands and a massive head with dozens of large, sharp teeth. It may have been at the top of the food chain in its local ecosystem. Although relatively large for a theropod, Albertosaurus was much smaller than its more famous relative Tyrannosaurus, probably weighing less than 2 metric tons.

Photos by Kay Davies and Richard Schear
Since the first discovery in 1884, fossils of more than thirty individuals have been recovered, providing scientists with a more detailed knowledge of Albertosaurus anatomy than is available for most other tyrannosaurids. The discovery of 26 individuals at one site provides evidence of pack behaviour and allows studies of ontogeny and population biology which are impossible with lesser-known dinosaurs. 

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17 comments:

Tammy said...

That was as interesting as your pictures are beautiful, Kay. I really learned something.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Interesting, Kay. I hadnt heard of Albertasauruses, but did hear about the dinosaur park. Love the intriguing photos...........the rock formations are really something!

mick said...

Amazing scenery and it's easy to see why it was called "badlands". Great photos.

bettyl said...

Interesting post and I love your photos.

Ebie said...

This is one place I would love to explore! Ha, the badlands, and the rock colors and formation, an endless photo opportunity!

Penelope Postcards said...

I didn’t realize Alberta had such a wealth of fossils. Looks like the badlands are goodlands for exploring if you are curious or a scientist. This is a different adventure for you and Dick closer to home. It must have been nice to be able to take Lindy along for the ride. :)

Lorna Cahall said...

We visited there many years ago : just a real marvel of a park.

Mr Puddy said...

I wonder Did Lindy find some fossil ????..tee..heh
xoxo

Gattina said...

How interesting ! I love these moonlike landscapes ! I found the same (besides the Badlands) in Turkey.

diane b said...

That is very interesting, especially as a pack of them have been found. It makes me wonder what happened to kill them all at once all together.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

This is funny! My daughter was at the Museum of Nature. A man behind told his kids they didn't believe in evolution, not that the earth is this old. Poor old Caitlin (M.Sc!) just had to walk away!
Love these photos.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I didn't know about that Park! Very interesting...would love to visit it.

Daryl said...

fascinating .. ever since reading Michener's The Source i have been a closet archeology fan

Min fotogen said...

Great photo and information of the
dinosaur park!

Pearl said...

thanks for the tour. I've never been to the badlands...one day...

(neat name for your blog)

Powell River Books said...

Dinosaurs are so interesting. To think our earth supported such amazing beasts and then changed course so abruptly. When we were in California we went to the La Brea Tar Pits to see excavations and the Museum of Natural History to see the displays. In the early 1900s my grandfather raised hay on the land when they first started digging up dinosaur bones in the tar pits. Now they are in the middle of sprawling Los Angeles. - Margy

Cezar and Léia said...

Albert must have been a mean guy! :)
God bless you!
Cezar