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A case of mistaken dino-identity
Date:1/13/2009

DALLAS -- The official State Dinosaur of Texas is up for a new name, based on Southern Methodist University research that proved the titleholder has been misidentified.

State Rep. Charles Geren of Fort Worth filed a resolution Jan. 7 to change the name of the state dinosaur from Pleurocoelus to Paluxysaurus jonesi to correctly name the massive sauropod whose tracks and bones litter the central Texas Jones Ranch. Peter Rose is the scientist behind the name change: His master's level study of dinosaur bones at SMU eventually led him to dispute the long-accepted notion that the large, sauropod bones found in and around the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas, were the same as Pleurocoelus bones first found in Maryland in the late 1800s.

Rose determined it was a different dinosaur altogether a previously unrecognized genus and species he named Paluxysaurus jonesi, after W.W. Jones, the owner of the land on which the fossils were found. Once Rose's discovery was published in 2007, Pleurocelus' grand Texas title no longer fit.

Geren filed his resolution on behalf of constituents at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, which is a partner with SMU in ongoing research at the Glen Rose site, about 60 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Dr. Aaron Pan, Ph.D., the museum's curator of science, believes it's crucial to get the record corrected.

"I think it's going to be good for Texas paleontology and dinosaur research in general," Pan said. "Peter Rose's research has found that it is a new genus and a new species. This dinosaur is unique to Texas, and it is the most abundant dinosaur fossil found in the Glen Rose area."

SMU geological sciences professor Louis Jacobs, who was Rose's mentor, said that nobody before Rose had made an adequate study of the sauropod bones found at the Glen Rose site. Jacobs has described Texas as a kind of "free trade zone for the age of reptiles" since dinosaurs fro
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Contact: Kim Cobb
cobbk@smu.edu
214-768-7654
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert

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