Michael J. Polcyn

National Geographic: Texas pterosaur Aetodactylus Halli in the spotlight after 95 million years

Aetodactyls_Halli_SMyers_400px-lowest-rez.jpgNational Geographic News interviewed SMU postdoctoral researcher Timothy S. Myers about the new species and genus of pterosaur he identified and named Aetodactylus Halli. Pterosaurs are a group of flying reptiles commonly referred to as pterodactyls.

In the April 28 article “Toothy Texas Pterosaur Found; Soared Over Dallas” reporter John Roach talked to Myers about the 95 million-year-old jaw that was discovered by Lake Worth resident Lance Hall. Continue reading

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Texas discovery: Rare 95 million-year-old flying reptile Aetodactylus halli is new genus, species of pterosaur

Aetodactyls_Halli_SMyers_400px-lowest-rez.jpgA fossilized jaw discovered at a construction site in Mansfield has been identified and named Aetodactylus halli by SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers.

Rare in North America, the winged reptile was soaring 95 million years ago over what would one day become Dallas-Fort Worth. Continue reading

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SMU’s Polcyn, Jacobs in Discovery Channel’s “Prehistoric Dallas”

mosasaur1-utmuseum.jpgDallas — and much of Texas — was once submerged by a sprawling, blue-water ecosystem called the Western Interior Seaway, which split North America in two from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, according to a new video documentary by the Discovery Channel.

Prehistoric Dallas” includes commentary from two SMU paleontologists, Michael J. Polcyn and Louis L. Jacobs, both of whom have expertise in Texas’ ancient sea and the life that inhabited it from more than 90 million years ago until the extinction of the dinosaurs at 66 million years ago. Continue reading

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World’s first full skeletal mount of Paluxysaurus jonesi dinosaur reveals new biology

STATE_DINO_photo_Lauersmaller.jpgPaluxysaurus jonesi weighed 20 tons, was 60 feet long and had a neck 26 feet long, according to the scientists who have prepared the world’s first full skeletal mount of the dinosaur.

The massive Paluxysaurus jonesi, prepared for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, was unveiled Nov. 20 when the museum opened in a new $80 million facility. Continue reading

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Portable 3D laser technology preserves Texas dinosaur’s rare footprint

Original%20track%2CT.Adams.jpg Using portable 3D laser technology, scientists have preserved electronically a rare 110 million-year-old fossilized dinosaur footprint that was previously excavated and built into the wall of a bandstand at a Texas courthouse in the 1930s.

The laser image preserves what is called a “type specimen” footprint — an original track used many years ago to describe a new species of dinosaur, says paleontologist Thomas L. Adams at SMU.

Portable 3D laser scanners capture original fossil morphology and texture, making it possible to use the data for rapid 3D prototyping in foam or resin, Adams says.

“The track is scientifically very important,” says Adams. “But it’s also a historical and cultural icon for Texas.”
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Polcyn in New Scientist’s “Real Sea Monsters: Hunt for Predator X”

mosasaur1-utmuseum.jpgPaleontologist Michael J. Polcyn, director of the Visualization Laboratory in the SMU Huffington Department of Earth Sciences and SMU adjunct research associate, is quoted as an expert source in “Real Sea Monsters: The Hunt for Predator X.”

The article by reporter James O’Donoghue was published in the October 2009 issue of the magazine New Scientist.

Polcyn is a world-recognized expert on the extinct marine reptile named Mosasaur.
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Polcyn in Discovery Channel’s “Mega Beasts: T-Rex of the Deep”

Paleontologist Michael J. Polcyn, director of the Visualization Laboratory in the SMU Huffington Department of Earth Sciences and SMU adjunct research associate, appears as an expert source in “Mega Beasts: T-Rex of the Deep,” a science documentary that aired Sept. … Continue reading

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Mistaken ID for official Texas state dinosaur; name to change

It’s a case of mistaken dino-identity. The official State Dinosaur of Texas is up for a new name, based on Southern Methodist University research that proved the titleholder has been misidentified.

State Rep. Charles Geren of Fort Worth filed a resolution January 7 to change the name of the state dinosaur from Pleurocoelus to Paluxysaurus jonesi to correctly name the massive sauropod whose tracks and bones litter the central Texas Jones Ranch. Continue reading

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