Shelved fossil was a Svalbard jewel, say paleontologists

August 7, 2016
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The paleontologists from Natural History Museum in Oslo discovered that the fossil originally found on Spitzbergen in 1962, was a jewel. After 50 years of shelving, the scientists examined the object with the help of the computer tomography scanning technology.

The storage shelves of the University of Oslo’s Natural History Museum have examined a lot of earlier found objects. One of them — shelved fossil, was a Svalbard jewel, say paleontologists. According to Jørn Hurum, the object had originally been found on Spitzbergen by the geologist Jenö Nagy in 1962.

In 2011 Jørn Hurum started the examination of an interesting Nagy’s found, which shelved for 50 years in the storage shelves of the Natural History Museum in Oslo. As Hurum’s study shows, it’s a remnant of a small bird or bird-like dinosaur that lived in the Lower Cretaceous period (113 to 100 million years ago). The computer tomography scanning technology was a lot of assistance to paleontological study, says Aubrey Roberts, a research fellow at the University of Southhampton:

“We could see that this fossil was a bone, more specifically a femur. The bone probably belonged to a bird, or a dinosaur closely related to birds.”

According to the publication, during the Lower Cretaceous period, the creature was alive. The reason of death was falling into the water when it died. That’s why the femur became felicitously protected in the rock beneath a fossil mollusc shell. In fact, this is the first fossil vertebrate from the Lower Cretaceous period found in the Arctic.

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