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Pakistan's first dinosaur fossils may explain extinction

dinosaur fossils
Researchers examine fossilized legs and vertabrae  

December 5, 2000
Web posted at: 3:20 PM EST (2020 GMT)

BALUCHISTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Studies of Pakistan's first discovered dinosaur fossils may help explain how the species was wiped out, scientists said.

"During the course of mapping, a bone was discovered that was thought to be big enough to be a dinosaur," said Abdul Latif Khan, director of the Geological Survey of Pakistan.

The bone fossil was brought to survey headquarters, where it was confirmed that it had belonged to a dinosaur, he said.

Geological researchers said Saturday the remains of the giant reptiles were found in sediment that goes back to a time just before dinosaurs became extinct.

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The fossilized legs and vertebrae were found in the country's arid Baluchistan province and are believed to date back to the late Cretaceous Period, about 70 million years ago.

"I am positive (these) will not be the only occurrences. Only a couple of days work was done during which we excavated about 102 bones of the animal. And further work will be done soon," Khan told Reuters.

Along with shedding light on the dinosaurs' extinction, the bones could offer clues into the distribution of dinosaur populations. Fluctuations in sea level and changes in sediment determined from the bones could even help Pakistan in its search for oil and gas.

In recent years, researchers have theorized that the disappearance of dinosaurs may be linked to the impact of a meteor that sparked a catastrophic cooling of the planet.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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RELATED SITES:
Geological Survey of Pakistan


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