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Paleontologists work to recover skeleton of reptile that went extinct 200 million years ago

All About Animals

POSTED: Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 12:04pm

Paleontologists are working to unearth the remains of a reptile that went extinct nearly 200-million years ago in Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park.

They're currently working with one of the most complete Revueltosaurus skeletons ever found.

Over the years paleontologists have found the fossils from what they believe are eleven reptiles in the same area.

Now they're studying every little detail of their three most recent finds.

Museum technicians are capturing 3-D scans of the specimen layer by layer.

Over in the lab… work under the microscope requires a handful of patience.

The Paleontologists start with a plaster jacket full of dirt.

They work through the dirt to find the bones, a lengthy and delicate process.

Their end goal is to have a plaster and clay mold, so they can try to figure out what the Revueltosaurus looked like.

To take down the main rock on part of the tail took about 1 week…

The hard work is paying off, on the skeleton there are more than 300 bones.

They already have sketches showing much more than what they knew when they started.

The hope is that from here they can learn more about how these reptiles lived and died.

After the bones are cleaned, they'll go in to their museum collection for further research.

Eventually they will be able to put the entire skeleton together and put it on exhibit for visitors.

The Petrified Forest has the only entire skeleton of a Revueltosaurus in the entire world, although a similar species was discovered in Tanzania.

Next year they are going to dig deeper into the hill where the skeleton was found in hopes of finding more.

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