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New Giant Dinosaur Discovered in Ancient Egyptian Mangrove Deposit

Added: (Fri Jun 01 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Embargoed until 5/31/01 @ 2 p.m. (EDT)
Drexel Geologist Kenneth Lacovara Puts New Dinosaur Genus - Paralititan stromeri - into Ecological Context

Science Magazine to announce discovery of a new genus of dinosaur in
tomorrow's edition

PHILADELPHIA (May 31, 2001)- Drexel University's Dr. Kenneth Lacovara,
chief geologist on the Bahariya Dinosaur Project (BDP), an Egyptian dig
that has unearthed a new genus of dinosaur, Paralititan stromeri,
reconstructed its nearly 100 million old environment to put its
discovery into ecological context. The discovery of Paralititan stromeri
will be reported in tomorrow's issue of Science.

"Without putting our discovery into ecological context, all we would
have are fantastic fossils without knowing the animal's impact on its
environment and vice versa," said Lacovara, an engineering geology
professor at Drexel University since 1996.

Lacovara traversed the Egyptian countryside during a seven-week dig in
January and February of 2000 taking sediment samples from cliff faces to
piece together Paralititan's 100 million-year-old ecosystem. What he
found was an interesting discovery in itself. By analyzing sediment and
plant and invertebrate fossils, Lacovara concluded that Paralititan
stromeri inhabited an environment similar to the modern mangrove
ecosystem of the Ten Thousand Islands region of the Florida Everglades,
an environment strikingly different from the one in which the fossils
were discovered - the heart of the Sahara Desert.

Lacovara also proposed the name for the new genus to the BDP team, which
includes University of Pennsylvania doctoral students Josh Smith and
Matt Lamanna and Penn professor Peter Dodson. Its name is derived from
"paralos," meaning near the sea and "Titan," meaning large size,
effectively translating to tidal giant. Stromeri is in honor of Ernst
Stromer, the famed paleontologist, who first collected dinosaurs in
Egypt in 1911.

The BDP team found a 67-inch humerus that suggests Paralititan is close
in size to Argentinosaurus, currently the most massive dinosaur known.
The four-legged Paralititan may have measured 80 to 100 feet long and
weighed 60 to 80 tons. By contrast, today's African elephants weigh an
average five tons.

Editors' Notes: To arrange a viewing of Paralititan stromeri bones call
Lori Klein, director of communications and media relations at
Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences (215/299-1066) .. To contact
Dr. Lacovara directly, call 609/517-5002 . An informational
clearinghouse for this project can be found online at www.egyptdinos.org.

###drexel.edu/dateline###

To arrange an interview with Dr. Lacovara, contact: Kevin C. Kaufman,
Drexel News Bureau Director
215/895-2705 (office), 267/228-5599 (cell) or kauf@drexel.edu

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