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Zoo News

Zoo News

Dallas Zoo Staffer Finds 100-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur in Mansfield
Apr 7, 2015

In odd twist, discovery made as zoo planned Giants of the Jurassic exhibit

WHAT: Dallas Zoo keeper Tim Brys and his son, 4, discovered dinosaur bones last September in Mansfield, Texas, on land being developed for a shopping center. In a race against time, zoo officials worked with Southern Methodist University scientists for months to line up permission to unearth the dinosaur. (In an odd twist, when Brys made the discovery, he was one of the staffers helping to build Giants of the Jurassic, a large dinosaur exhibit currently at the zoo through Sept. 7.)

The excavation began last weekend, overseen by Michael J. Polcyn, vertebrate paleontologist and director of the Digital Earth Sciences Laboratory at SMU, and Rocky Manning, president of the Dallas Paleontological Society. Brys and SMU graduate students assisted. After carefully unearthing bones from the thick Texas clay, the team determined they were those of a rare nodosaur (“knobby lizard” in Greek), which lived about 100 million years ago in the late Jurassic to early Cretaceous periods. These plant-eaters were 15 feet long and weighed up to 2,000 pounds, with hard, scaly plates on their back. SMU scientists believe the dinosaur may have been washed to that site, which millions of years ago was underwater.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 7, 10 a.m.

SOUND/VISUALS: Tim Brys, Dallas Zoo keeper who discovered the dinosaur with his 4-year-old son

Michael J. Polcyn, SMU paleontologist

Rocky Manning, Dallas Paleontological Society

Scientists loading the largest portion of the dinosaur, encased in plaster, onto a flatbed truck

WHERE: The dinosaur site can be found adjacent to the parking lot of a new retail development behind the Sprouts store in Mansfield, near the corner of Matlock Road and Debbie Lane.