October 28, 2011

Our Favorite Fossils - Anatotitan

My left hand compared to Anatotitan's left foot.
It's true that ugly fossils are important, but that doesn't make giant duck feet any less interesting!

Anatotitan means "large duck" but the critter in question was actually a duck-billed dinosaur (a hadrosaurid). They grew up to 39 feet long - 6 feet short of your average school bus. At that size, it's no wonder his (or her!) foot dwarfs my hand. My palm is about the size of one of his (or her!) toe bones.

Anatotitan lived during the Late Cretaceous - 68 to 65.5 million years ago - at the same time as Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor, pterosaurs, small mammals like Eomaia, marine reptiles and birds. The Cretaceous ended with one of the largest mass extinctions in Earth's history.

Montana (starred) during the Late Cretaceous. (Dr. R. B.)

This fossil was found in the Hell Creek formation in Montana in 1987. University of Washington's Dr. Greg Wilson and his lab dig for fossils and what they find ends up here at the Burke!

You can see this very Anatotitan fossil at the Burke's Dino Day (and you might notice that it's featured on the Anatotitan's Wikipedia page!)

Posted By: Winifred Kehl, Communications