DALLAS (CBS11) – Many newcomers to North Texas may not realize that millions of year ago, this area was the stomping ground of dinosaurs.
You need only travel as far as the Perot Museum in Dallas to see evidence of North Texas dinos.
Dr. Anthony Fiorillo is the Vice President of Research and Collections, and Chief Curator at the Perot Museum in Dallas. And almost nothing makes him happier than talking about his favorite subject: dinosaurs.
Fiorillo says Texas is full of fossilized dinosaur remains: From Big Bend National Park in West Texas to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Lake Ray Hubbard, and even Lake Grapevine.
“We had a fossil enthusiast a couple of years ago named Chris Howe,” says Fiorillo. He found some bones and brought them into the lab, and he said, ‘are these anything?’, and after he picked us up off the floor, we told him he had evidence of the oldest fossil bird from North America.”
And he says because there are only a few professionally-trained paleontologists in the area, a lot of what’s found—especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth area—gets found by enthusiasts rather than trained professionals.
While many dinosaurs maybe found in North Texas, they didn’t all start out here.
Fiorillo says most groups of dinosaurs found here evolved in Asia, came thru Alaska over a land bridge, and then into Texas.
And Alaska is exactly where Fiorillo is headed next.
“So that’s the reason I go to Alaska every summer, is to try to actually understand what’s going on here by going to the gateway between the two continents– and also to get out of the Texas heat,” he says with a laugh.
And with any luck, we’ll all be able to see the evidence of his latest dig– on display at the Perot Museum in the not-too-distant future.
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