What: After five years of excavation, Drexel University professor of biology Dr. Kenneth Lacovara’s shipment of 16 tons of dinosaur bones that belong to the second largest dinosaur ever discovered has arrived at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal. Lacovara and officials from Drexel will be at the shipyard where the cargo container will be opened to unveil 232 plaster jackets encasing bone from a sauropod dinosaur dating back to 65 million years ago and weighing 60 tons. This specimen is the most complete skeleton ever found of a super-massive dinosaur. Lacovara and his team of Drexel students excavated the fossils from the punishingly remote badlands of southern-most Patagonia, Argentina.
The bones are on loan from the government of Argentina and will be studied at three locations: Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences labs, the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Lacovara and his students will study the physiology and biomechanics of the enormous creature using the latest advances in scientific technology. The team will use a 3-D laser scanner to image the bones and will study the biomechanics of the creature using a sophisticated computer program that mimics evolution. Lacovara plans to analyze the bone structure for clues about the animal’s growth and will attempt to isolate tissues and cells that may remain inside the ancient bones. Additionally, Lacovara is studying the fossil ecosystem in which the giant lived. He believes that by studying the ‘hothouse’ world of the dinosaurs we will be better prepared to understand the biological response to current global warming.
-Opening of the container at the terminal filled with 232 plaster jackets, some of which are massive.
-Lifting of the bones encased in plaster jackets.
-Photos from the excavation in Patagonia.
Who: Lacovara will speak about the excavation and the specimen. He will be joined by team members including Jason Poole, Academy of Natural Sciences, plus vertebrate paleontologists Peter Dodson of the University of Pennsylvania and Bill Gallagher of Rider University. Drexel Provost Mark Greenberg, Donna Murasko, Dean of Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences, and representatives from Hamburg Sud shipping, Holt Logistics, and Rock-it Cargo will be among the guests.
When: Friday, May 1, 2009 at 11 a.m.
Where: The south gate of the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal at the Philadelphia Shipyard
Exit 17 off of I-95 North to Pattison Avenue (right), Exit 19 off of I-95 South to Pattison Avenue (right), turn left onto Columbus Blvd., at 1/8 miles turn right (immediately after traveling beneath the Walt Whitman Bridge), cross over railroad tracks and proceed to access road. Follow terminal signs.
Note to editors: High resolution images from Patagonia are available at: http://www.drexel.edu/biology/PatagoniaDinosaurProject.html
News Media Contact:
Niki Gianakaris, director, Drexel News Bureau
215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org