Lone Star Adventure: Perot Museum Dinosaurs - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Lone Star Adventure: Perot Museum Dinosaurs

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Paleontologist Ron Tykoski is at work extracting dinosaur teeth

"I really take my time and go easy on the thing," he says.

Teeth of a Tyrantasaurus - from the North Slope of Alaska -- part of a pre-historic treasure trove of fossils recovered on summer long expeditions by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

And new a treasure has just arrived in the Paleo lab at Fair Park.

"Rubber molds that we made of specific dinosaur footprints that we collected this past summer, a couple weeks ago in Denali National Park," said Dr. Tony Fiorillo.

He's been making the summer trip to Alaska for more than a decade. His work led to the discovery of a new dinosaur that's now a star attraction of an exhibit at the newly opened Perot Museum in downtown Dallas -- Pachyrhinosaurus Perotorum -- commonly called the Perot dinosaur.  The actual skull is here, along with a full-sized model.

"Every new discovery comes back to the Perot. It's just that some of them actually make it on display. But every year we keep finding new things which is why we keep going back," said Fiorillo.

Among those new discoveries is part of the skull of a juvenile Perot dinosaur.

"The tip of the beak would be out here. The eye would be down over here and over here…This animal died, right at the onset, just before the onset of puberty, adolescence," said Tykoski.

The Paleo Lab is something you can visit. The building is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. But come on Fridays when the paleontologists are actually here and at work in the lab.

The Perot dinosaur was uncovered on Alaska's North Slope -- but this year the team spent a lot of time further south in Denali National Park. Dr. Fiorillo is really excited about the tracks they uncovered.

"There's one toe, two toes, three and there's a fourth toe," said Fiorillo. "The bones from the North Slope tell us who was at the dance. These footprints tell us what the dance was. So we learn a great deal by combing the two."

The tracks and the juvenile specimen may one day be part of the public display of Alaskan dinosaurs -- in the meantime helping the scientists paint a more complete picture.

"By finding a juvenile along with these adult specimens it really shows how dynamic that was a long time ago. That there were breeding populations of animals living very comfortably in the ancient arctic," said Fiorillo.

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