Dr. Judd A. Case, a professor of biology and earth science atSaint Mary’s College of California and Dr. James E. Martin,professor of geology and geological engineering at the South DakotaSchool of Mines and Technology recently announced at the NationalPress Center the possible discovery of a new dinosaur species onJames Ross Island off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Case and Martin said they believe they havefound the fossilized bones of an entirely new species ofcarnivorous dinosaurs related to the tyrannosaurs and thevelociraptors, which are smaller but swift. The remains includefragments of an upper jaw with teeth, isolated individual teeth andmost of the bones from the animal’s lower legs and feet.
“In some cases, we sat down early with all thebones spread out, began to put things together that looked likethey belonged together,” Case said. Features of the animal’s bonesand teeth led researchers to surmise that the animal may representa population of carnivores that survived in the Antarctic longafter they had been replaced by other predators elsewhere on theglobe
Like most discoveries in science, this oneseems to bring to light more questions than answers. “One of thesurprising things is that animals with these more primitivecharacteristic generally haven’t survived as long elsewhere as theyhave in Antarctica,” Case said. “Why this group is still here whenin other places other groups have displaced them? We don’tknow.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF), throughthe United States Antarctic Program (USAP), supported theexcavation. NSF is an independent federal agency that supportsfundamental research and education across all fields of science andengineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.58 billion.