Albuquerque, NM, September 10, 2012 – It is quite common for extinct animals to be called dinosaurs. But not all extinct animals are, in fact, dinosaurs. What, then, do you call such animals? Dinosaur Pretenders – that’s what!
Dinosaur Pretenders: Dimetrodon and Revueltosaurus - opens on September 15, 2012 as part of Dinosaur Century: 100 Years of Discovery in New Mexico at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
Dimetrodon -- Probably the best known “dinosaur pretender” is the sail-backed reptile Dimetrodon.
Dimetrodon was a totally different kind of reptile, and a distant relative of the ancestor of mammals. It lived during the Permian Period, 280 million years ago, long before the first dinosaur. Dimetrodon, a voracious hunter, stood at the top of food chain and was the top land predator of its time. Fossils and footprints of Dimetrodon have been discovered in the Lower Permian rocks at many locations in New Mexico, notably in Sandoval, Socorro, Sierra and Otero counties.
Revueltosaurus -- In 1988, UNM Graduate Student, Adrian Hunt, joined a field crewfrom the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science in an expedition to the Triassic badlands near Tucumcari, New Mexico. While collecting fossils during this expedition, Hunt came upon several small, spoon-shaped teeth with coarsely serrated edges. In 1989, Hunt named the teeth Revueltosaurus, after Revuelto Creek where the fossil were found, identifying it as one of the oldest plant-eating dinosaurs.
For more than a decade, Revueltosaurus was widely accepted as an early dinosaur, and its distinctive teeth had been found at Triassic sites in both New Mexico and Arizona. In 2004 new fossils, including a skull with Revueltosaurus teeth attached, were found at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. These showed that Revueltosaurus was not a dinosaur after all, but was instead a peculiar armored reptile with teeth similar to those of later plant-eating dinosaurs.
About the Discoverer -- A native of Portsmouth, England, Adrian Hunt received a B. Sc. Degree from Victoria University of Manchester. He then moved to the United States where he received a M. S. degree from New Mexico Tech and a Ph.D. degree from the University of New Mexico. He taught at Mesa Technical College in Tucumcari, before becoming executive director of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science from 2002 to 2007. Currently he is the director of the Flying Heritage Collection, a vintage airplane museum in Everett, Washington. Adrian Hunt’s diverse research on New Mexico’s dinosaurs spans three decades and all three Mesozoic time periods. He is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on New Mexico dinosaurs.
Come see it all at Dinosaur Century: 100 Years of Discovery in New Mexico, only at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science preserves and interprets the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning.