North Texas paleontologist heads to Alaska to unearth big find

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by MARCUS MOORE

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WFAA

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 12:54 PM

A North Texas paleontologist is heading back to Alaska to continue his team's work of excavating dinosaur footprints.

Last year, Dr. Anthony Fiorillo and other scientists discovered a large collection of polar dinosaur footprints in Denali National Park.

"The fact that we're really the first ones to get in there, [it] gives us a tremendous opportunity to make discoveries that are just mind-blowing in scale," Fiorillo said Monday before boarding an Alaska Airlines plane to Anchorage.

Last year, the team found a tracksite roughly the size of a football field; a collection of thousands of dinosaur footprints, big and small.

Some of what they found is already on display at the Perot Museum of Natural Science in Dallas, but their work is far from over.

"So, we're really hoping to understand this unusual collection of dinosaur footprints that we found," Fiorillo said.

Their work has now been published in the most recent edition of "Geology," the Geological Society of America's prestigious journal. It's titled, "Herd structure in Late Cretaceous polar dinosaurs: A remarkable new dinosaur tracksite, Denali National Park, Alaska, USA." The work was co-authored by Stephen T. Hasiotis and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi.

"We are changing the way the science thinks about dinosaurs, in that finding polar dinosaurs is challenging everything we think we know about dinosaurs," Fiorillo said.

The team will be in Alaska for almost a month, hiking up to a location where more fossils can be unearthed.
News 8 is sending a crew to Alaska to document the team's efforts.

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com

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