2015 Archives

SMU scientists to study 5-year-old's rare dinosaur find in Mansfield


The following are from the April 7, 2015, editions of The Dallas Morning News, CBS 11 News, CW 33 News and NBC 5 News.

Dinosaur fossil found in Mansfield

From Dallas television stations

From BBC World News

April 8, 2015

From The Dallas Morning News

Staff Writer

You won’t find many little boys who aren’t obsessed with dinosaurs.

Before now, you probably wouldn’t find any who could claim to have discovered one.

On Tuesday, SMU scientists helped a Dallas zookeeper and his 5-year-old son excavate a fossil they found last fall behind a Mansfield shopping center.

Tim Brys, who works at the Dallas Zoo, found the 100 million-year-old fossil with his son Wylie on a patch of land behind a grocery store at Matlock Road and Debbie Lane. At the time, the zookeeper didn’t know what his boy had found.

“My dad told me it was a turtle,” Wylie said Tuesday at the site of his discovery. “But now he’s telling me it’s a dinosaur.”

After the initial find, Brys kept digging to see what else they could find, knowing there was a chance to find some remnants of marine life in the area, which was underwater during the Jurassic period.

“He walked up ahead of me and found a piece of bone,” Brys said. “It was a pretty good size and I knew I had something interesting.”

The fossilized bones could belong to a nodosaur, a rare find of a land-dwelling dinosaur in Texas. Dale Winkler, a professor of paleontology at SMU, described the pony-sized nodosaur as “armored beach balls that floated out to sea.”

“Quite rare to find a dinosaur in this area,” said Michael Polcyn, Winkler’s colleague at SMU.

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