State Dinosaur of Texas
Sauropod Dinosaur (common name)
Paluxysaurus jonesi (scientific name)
Paluxysaurus jonesi is a species of large sauropod dinosaur that lived in the Albian and Aptian ages of the early Cretaceous period, approximately 100 to 120 million years ago. Sauropods are a group of large dinosaurs that include the largest land animals known. An herbivorous quadruped, Paluxysaurus may also be a brachiosaurid, a quadrupedal dinosaur whose forelegs were longer than its hind legs. Paluxysaurus is the most complete sauropod dinosaur known from the Cretaceous-age fossils of North America.
A STATE SYMBOL
Pleurocoelus is the former state dinosaur of Texas, designated in 1997. Fossil specimens from the Jones Ranch site in Hood County, Texas, were previously considered those of Pleurocoelus. These remains have since been re-identified as a new species unique enough to warrant its own genus, Paluxysaurus jonesi. In 2009, the official state dinosaur of Texas was updated to Paluxysaurus jonesi.
The genus name Paluxysaurus is derived from a combination of a geographical location and a Greek word. The location marks the place this sauropod was first discovered, the Paluxy River region near the unincorporated community of Paluxy, Texas. The Greek word σαύρα (savra) means "lizard" and is a common suffix for dinosaur names. The species name, jonesi, commemorates the Jones Ranch site in Hood County, Texas. In 2006, Peter J. Rose, at that time a graduate student in geology at Southern Methodist University, described and named the genus and species.
Paluxysaurus grew to a length of up to 75 feet (23 m) and a shoulder height of up to 12 feet (4 m). A quadrupedal herbivore,Paluxysaurus had a small head on a long neck, which enabled it to eat leaves from trees much like a modern giraffe. The dinosaur had a long tail and weighed 10 to 30 tons (9 to 27 metric tons).
In the Cretaceous period, Paluxysaurus was common in what is now Texas and is unique to the state. The last of the dinosaurs are thought to have gone extinct approximately 65 million years ago during the Cretaceous–Tertiary mass extinction event. In March 2010, a panel of paleontologists and geologists from leading universities and research institutes from around the globe concluded that an asteroid that hit present-day Chicxulub, Mexico, triggered this mass extinction.
Texas has become famous for its many dinosaur fossil discoveries.Paluxysaurus was identified from bones of at least four individuals, formerly considered those of Pleurocoelus. These fossils were discovered at the Jones Ranch site in the Paluxy River area, near the unincorporated town of Paluxy in Hood County, Texas. Well-preserved dinosaur trackways have also been found at the site.Paluxysaurus footprints have been found throughout the state, and can be seen at Dinosaur Valley State Park, near Glen Rose, Texas.
Paleontological research continues at the Jones Ranch site. Experts from the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History have partnered with Southern Methodist University to continue to excavate the site. A museum exhibit is now in place, displaying fossils found at the Hood County site.
In addition to Texas naming a state dinosaur, it has named another fossil as an official state symbol. The state stone of Texas is petrified palm wood, a type of fossilized wood in which all the organic material has been replaced by minerals, usually quartz.
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|Author: World Trade Press|