It's finally here! National Fossil Day! Hurray! A special day for dinosaurs (every child's and many an adult's secret wish come true)! It's the perfect time to celebrate your favorite fossil and chat with similarly minded folks about the cool things your favorite dinosaur can do (or did).
Mine is the Triceratops, with three impressive horns and bony frill around the head. I've always imagined it as one of the solid, hard working dinosaurs. Kind of the bull dog of the plant-eating dinosaur set.
Today on National Fossil Day a major Tyrranosaurus rex question has been answered by researcher, Mary Schweitzer, Ph.D., who discovered that "Bob" the T. rex was really a pregnant female from dinosaur medullary bone cells found in recovered bone tissue. Medullary bone, also found in modern birds who lay eggs, is a temporary bone tissue that stores calcium for eggshell formation. Without it, the needed calcium would be pulled from the mother's bones (never a good thing, but particularly tricky in light, delicate bird bones.) Anyway, this is the first time a female gender designation has been found for T. rex.
As always, it's exciting to discover big science news after much time (68 million years) has passed. Go science!