• Question: Have you (or anyone you know) discovered any new fossils/dinosaurs?

    Asked by Sheepish mango 🐏🥭 to Maria on 9 Nov 2019.
    • Photo: Maria McNamara

      Maria McNamara answered on 9 Nov 2019:

      That’s an interesting question! The short answer is yes, I have been involved in a study reporting a new dinosaur species – we reported the new herbivore Kulindadromeus from Siberia in 2014. It was a small plant-eating feathered dinosaur, and a whole bunch of them were washed downstream in a river system in far eastern Siberia during the Late Jurassic. Amazingly they preserve their scaly skin on their legs and tail and three types of feathers.

      But really I’m not the type of palaeontologist that normally discovers new species. Instead I work on fossil soft tissues – things like skin and muscles – that normally rot away but in very special circumstances can get preserved in the fossil record. These fossil tissues can tell us about really interesting things about fossils’ biology – for instance last year I led a study reporting some remarkably well preserved dinosaur skin – specifically, flakes of skin entrained in the feathers – in other words, dinosaur dandruff!