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Earth Science

German Paleontologists Find a 'Near-Perfect' Dinosaur Fossil 99

First time accepted submitter howzit writes "German paleontologists have discovered what they believe is the best-preserved dinosaur skeleton ever found. The flesh-eating member of the theropod subgroup, which walked on its hind legs, is about 98 percent complete, and also includes preserved bits of skin. 'The around 135-million-year-old fossil is of outstanding scientific importance.'"
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German Paleontologists Find a 'Near-Perfect' Dinosaur Fossil

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 22, 2011 @07:08PM (#37806684)

    Plenty of things are loaned out (See what NASA does alot) simply so they retain their rights over the product while still allowing it to be showcased (recognition) or allowed to be further researched. Generally speaking, this is standard practice for stuff like these. The main reason is, that the person maintain control over who gets to see it and where it's located and under what conditions. One example is that instead of a museum owning it and showing it only in 1 city, a person may loan out the bones to various museums for various period of time allowing for a greater amount of people who will see the fossil.

    As for the skin, no idea. Hard to say but it probably has something to do with how well the entire fossil is preserved. It might be such that a condition allows for bits of the skin to be preserved in some form. There is too little information on how and the conditions at which the fossil was found.

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @07:32PM (#37806792)

    A fossil like this is rare and worth a decent amount. Collectors will pay obscene amounts for it, amounts that a museum may not be able to match. So just be happy they loaned it to a museum at all, so at least we can glean some scientific knowledge from it.

    Some good news on that front, from the article:

    "The fossil, discovered between one and two years ago, has been registered as a German cultural asset, giving it a status that drastically lowers its monetary worth, but ensures the artefact will remain in the country.

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @06:26AM (#37808744) Homepage

    It happens if the dead body is immediately covered by an air tight layer of e.g. sand, tar or mud. So you find many well preserved fossils in former swamps, river banks or tar pits. In this case it seems to have been preserved by sinking in the seabed of the Paratethys, part of the Tethys, which was an ocean between Africa and Eurasia, and whose remainings are the contemporan Mediterran.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus