THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL WILL BE SHOWING a special report tonight (Sunday) about a unique dinosaur fossil. “Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy” will air at 9 pm Eastern. It will be repeated at 1 am and then shown again on Monday evening.
Kathy Blumenstock of the Washington Post writes about the unusual find and the program:
The program chronicles the story of the first dinosaur mummy unearthed with an intact digestive tract: the fossilized Brachylophosaurus was a duck-billed, four-legged plant-eater.
Scientists estimate the male, 20-foot-long juvenile dinosaur was only 3 or 4 years old. He was discovered by amateur paleontologists near Malta, Mont., in July 2000.
The dinosaur could not be excavated from the dig site until a year later, after more than 18 feet of canyon wall was bulldozed or blasted away. Twenty diggers spent more than nine weeks just removing the cliff face above the fossil, whose body was covered 90 percent by skin.
The massive find both excited and puzzled scientists. The dinosaur’s identifiable stomach contents are a rarity, because the preservation of plant matter demands specific conditions.
After its death, this dinosaur rested on a sandbar, and the wet sand covered and protected his body from scavengers. Centuries later, the creature, which originally weighed about a ton, had transformed, along with its sandy resting place, into more than six tons of solid rock and fossil.
The program follows the excavation and examination of the fossil and, using computer-generated animation, shows what has been learned so far about the creature’s life habits.
Read Kathy Blumenstock’s complete review of the show HERE.
National Geographic image
The Discovery Channel further explains:
From high-tech testing of Leonardo’s remains, scientists have positively identified what a plant-eating dinosaur ate — something that has never been done before. Leonardo’s last meal consisted largely of leaves, which included ferns, magnolias and conifers. Additional analysis has confirmed at least 40 different types of prehistoric plant pollen preserved in his stomach. Since most dinosaurs were herbivores, this find is an incredibly important step in learning more about the creatures’ lives on the planet.
Read Discovery’s write-up HERE.