Rare fossil of dinosaur ancestor unearthed in Texas

08:13, December 16, 2010      

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A rare, nearly complete fossil of a Dimetrodon, a reptile-predator that roamed the Permian landscape, has been discovered by paleontologists in northern Texas.

During an expedition to the site of its discovery, the Craddock Ranch in Baylor county, on Dec. 11 to 12, Robert Bakker, curator of the Houston Museum of Natural Science and director of the dig that unearthed the fossil, and his team of paleontologists and volunteers, were completing their field work: picking away the soil to unearth the rib cage of this fossil dubbed "Wet Willi."

The face, jaws, and neck of the Dimetrodon had already been unearthed and wrapped up with plaster, Bakker said.

The parts of the Dimetrodon will then be transported to Houston and "then the lab will clear up all the rocks and then the bones will be completely free," the director of the dig said.

All parts of the Dimetrodon will be glued together, and the whole skeleton will be on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in 2012.

Thousands of pieces of Dimetrodon bones had been found on the Craddock Ranch, known worldwide as the place that has more Dimetrodon bones than the rest of the world put together. But until this year, the researchers and their team of volunteers had not turned up anything as complete as "Wet Willi".

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