Campus: CSU Stanislaus -- January 26, 2005

Geology Faculty Member Leads Dinosaur Research Team

Dr. Julia Sankey, Assistant Professor of Geology in the Department of Physics and Geology at California State University, Stanislaus, led a class of geology students to Big Bend National Park, Texas, this month for a "hands on" dinosaur research field trip.

The students helped with Sankey's research on 75-million-year- old dinosaurs. They discovered many of what Sankey described as "fantastic fossils," including teeth from an older relative of T. rex and smaller dinosaurs.

One of the most important discoveries at the dig featured numerous dinosaur eggshell fragments and baby or embryonic dinosaur teeth, documenting that dinosaurs nested in the area. No nests with complete eggs have been found yet, but Sankey is hopeful that future trips with CSU Stanislaus students may uncover them from the rocks in the west Texas desert.

Students also collected many fragments of what appears to be burned wood and studied the sediments surrounding the bones and wood to determine how the animals and plants died and were buried. Further research is planned for spring semester starting in February to test some ideas brought up during the trip to Texas.

"At the moment our hypothesis can be summed up in the following title: 'Fires, Floods, Eggs, and Babies in the Late Cretaceous of Big Bend, Texas,' which is our tentative abstract title for the fall meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology," Sankey said.

Media Contact: Don Hansen, (209) 667-3997


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