National Geographic premieres ‘Dino Autopsy’ on December 9

<EM>“It is quite fair to say that our dinosaur mummy [Dakota] makes many other dinosaurs look like road kill.”<BR>–<STRONG>Dr. Phillip Manning, Palaeontologist, the University of Manchester</STRONG></EM> <P></P> <P>National Geographic Channel brings to TV what they describe as the "Holy Grail" of palaeontology found in the United States: a partially intact dinosaur mummy.  </P> <P>***image4:center***</P> <P>The mumified remains have been named Dakota; this 67-million-year-old dinosaur is one of the most important dinosaur discoveries in recent times — reconfiguring the conception of dinosaurs’ body shape, skin preservation and movement.</P> <P><STRONG>On Sunday, December 9, at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT,</STRONG> ‘Dino Autopsy’ joins top palaeontologists in the United States as they uncover the tomb of one of the most complete dino mummies ever found.  </P> <P>The fact that this specimen includes an uncollapsed skin on many parts of the body and limbs that offers a degree of insight impossible from just analyzing just bone structure.  </P> <P>***image6:center***</P> <P>An oversized CT scanner provided by the Boeing Company allows scientists to examine the insides of this preserved body and tail. </P> <P>NGC’s documentary will alter given precepts of all dinosaurs’ body shape, skin texture and movement.   The questions of how and why this particular dinosaur was preserved so well will be investigated too.</P> <P>“It is quite fair to say that our dinosaur mummy [Dakota] makes many other dinosaurs look like road kill.  Simply because the evidence we’re getting from our creature is so complete compared to the disjointed sort of skeletons that we usually have to draw conclusions from,” said Dr. Phillip Manning, palaeontologist, the University of Manchester.</P> <P>***image3:center***</P> <P>Nearly everything we know of dinosaurs comes from fossilized bones and teeth, usually the only tissue that can withstand time.  </P> <P>But unlike most previous fossil finds, Dakota has survived millions of years nearly intact, with fossilized skin and tendons, allowing us to reconstruct major muscle sizes, and with many body parts in place, offering a tantalizing glimpse of a 3-D dinosaur.</P> <P>NGC producers interview those who discovered Dakota; teenager Tyler Lyson found the mummy on his family’s land in North Dakota.  </P> <P>Dr. Phil Manning and his team of scientists from the University of Manchester, working with Tyler and his team of volunteers as they struggle to unearth the tomb, examine how this dinosaur really looked and moved and whose fossil remains survived through the sands of time.</P> <P>Dakota is first taken to the Black Hills Institute in the United States, where he is revealed to be a Hadrosaur, more commonly called a duck-billed dinosaur.  A team of scientists in the United Kingdom then test skin samples, examining the fossilized skin to determine how Dakota might have looked and measuring muscle mass to determine how the Hadrosaur moved.</P> <P>The Boeing CT scanner will scan the 8,000-lb. body to reveal new secrets to the scientists.</P> <P>It is believed that Dakota may contribute some significant findings to the field of palaeontology, altering our comprehension of how dinosaurs looked and moved.   </P> <P>The Hadrosaur’s backside appears to be 25 percent larger than previously thought; a surprising conclusion that could change our image of the dinosaur for the last 150 years.  </P> <P>With a larger backside, the Hadrosaur would have been able to reach top speeds of 45 kilometers an hour – 16 kilometers faster than the T. Rex. </P> <P>***image5:center***</P> <P>The skin envelope also shows evidence that the Hadrosaur may have been striped and not block colored, producing an almost striped camouflage pattern on some parts of the dinosaur.</P> <P>With its body so well preserved, researchers are able to more accurately estimate the spacing between vertebrae.  While most museums, have the dinosaur bones stacked tightly against each other, Dr. Manning’s research suggests that the vertebrae should be stacked approximately one centimeter apart.  </P> <P>This could mean that some dinosaurs are at least three feet longer than previously thought. </P> <P>The National Geographic Society partly funded analysis of the mummified dinosaur, including the CT scanning of the fossil.  </P> <P>Scientific papers based on study of the dinosaur are in progress.</P> <P>Accompanying the release of Dino Autopsy is an adult book, “Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs: Soft Tissues and Hard Science,” by Dr. Phillip Manning, published by National Geographic Books; and a children’s book, “DinoMummy: The Life, Death, and Discovery of Dakota, a Dinosaur From Hell Creek,” authored by Manning with an introduction by Tyler Lyson, available in bookstores December 4 from Kingfisher.</P> <P><STRONG>Production notes:</STRONG></P> <P><EM>"Dino Autopsy" is produced by National Geographic Television (NGT) for National Geographic Channel.  Producer and writer is Chad Cohen.  Additional producers are Jenny Kubo and French Horwitz.  Editors are Emmanuel Mairesse and Mike Harvey.  For NGC, executive producer is Noah Morowitz, and senior vice president of special programming is Michael Cascio.</EM></P> <P>For more information, visit <A href="http://www.nationalgeographic.com/dinosaurs">here</A> </P>Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.