Dr. Roger Sauterer to Lecture on Dinosaurs
By Andy Johns
Star Staff Writer
Reprinted here in its entirety.
Fossilized Skeletons Provide Clues
A T. rex Named Sue
For Sue, becoming a fossil wasn't easy.
get fossilized is kind of like winning the lottery," said Jacksonville
State University's Dr. Roger Sauterer, who will give a lecture on
dinosaurs at the Anniston Museum of Natural History Sept. 27. "It takes
a special set of circumstances."
For an animal like Sue to be
fossilized, he said, it must die and then be quickly covered with
sediment to keep scavengers from scattering the bones.
fossils are found most often at the sites of ancient lakes, where the
currents covered the carcass with silt. Over millions of years the
bones can be "mineralized," which means mineral particles creep into
the bones and replace the organic material.
A nearly complete fossilized skeleton like Sue can give scientists plenty of clues about how ancient animals lived.
scientists who study fossils, can reconstruct the animal's skeleton to
determine how big an animal was and how it moved. Based on dinosaurs'
bone structures, most scientists believe rexes were more closely
related to modern birds than modern reptiles.
footprints, paleontologists can tell how heavy animals were and how
fast they could move. The problem is, scientists have only found one
footprint form an adult rex.
But don't expect to find a
Tyrannosaurus fossil the next time you go to a creek bed. There has
never been a T. rex skeleton found in Alabama. Most of the skeletons
have been found in Montana, Utah, Wyoming and Alberta, Canada.
Alabama does have its share of fossils though.
fact, there have been more fossils found in Alabama than any other
state east of the Mississippi River, according to Dr. James Lamb,
curator of paleontology at the McWane Science Center in Birmingham.
said paleontologist on Alabama digs have found fossils of duckbilled
Lophorhothon, boney armored nodosaurs, bird-like ornithomimids, and a
meat-eating Rex-cousin called Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis.
About Andy Johns
Andy Johns is the mobile reporter for The Star. He is a graduate of Berry College in Rome, Ga.
See story at The Anniston Star's website: www.annistonstar.com
Note: JSU faculty, staff and students may access The
Anniston Star online through their affiliation with the University.
Those not affiliated with JSU may have to subscribe to receive The
Anniston Star online. If you already subscribe to The Anniston
Star, you receive a complimentary online membership. This provides
complete access to all the content and services of the site at no
additional charge. Otherwise there is a $5 online monthly charge for
their online service. Contact The Anniston Star for information.
for news releases by using the request form at www.jsu.edu/newswire/request.