Montana State University Scientist Contributes To Latest Dinosaur Discovery

BOZEMAN, MONT.--A Bozeman, Mont., woman took particular notice of recent news that scientists had found a rare dinosaur embryo in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

Frankie Jackson, a research associate in the Museum of the Rockies and earth sciences department at Montana State University-Bozeman, is one of six scientists who described the discovery in the Nov. 19 issue of the journal Nature.

Photographs from the expedition appear in the December issue of National Geographic.

The Nature paper tells of rare embryos from a dinosaur nesting site covered with thousands of eggs over about one square mile. Jackson helped confirm that the fossilized embryos belong to sauropods--huge plant-eating dinosaurs like Apatosaurus, which used to be called Brontosaurus.

"I think this is a very exciting discovery. Extremely important," said Museum of the Rockies paleontologist Jack Horner.

Dinosaur embryos are rare, he said. Only six others have been found throughout the world.

"The exciting thing about this is we finally have identifiable embryonic remains inside an egg," said Jackson.

Scientists have identified sauropod eggs based on bones found in the same sediments as the eggs, but that method hasn't been accurate, she added.

It's also the first embryo retrieved from the Southern Hemisphere and the first to contain fossilized skin from baby dinosaurs.

Jackson was not on the expedition last spring that initially discovered the 70 million- to 90-million-year-old egg site. Scientists from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Argentina's Museo Municipal Carmen Funes found the nesting ground where thousands of dinosaurs may have gathered to lay their eggs.

American Museum paleontologist Luis Chiappe contacted Jackson after learning from a colleague that she studies fossilized egg shells. Chiappe asked her to join the project and desc

Contact: Annette Trinity-Stevens
Montana State University

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