Do You Believe In Dragons? ~ Palaeontologists discover a dragon’s skull in South Dakota



Most people think that dragons are merely the stuff of myths and fairy tales. However, a discovery made by a team of palaeontologists at the Hell Creek formation in North West South Dakota might cast doubt on this long held assumption. The team uncovered an incredible, almost completely intact skull of a reptilian like creature that bears a resemblance to the classic image of a dragon. Could this suggest that dragons really did roam the Earth at some point in the distant past?



The discovery and preparation of a one-of-a-kind fossil

The dinosaur was discovered by Brian Buckmeier and brothers Steve and Pat Saulsbury, all from Sioux City, Iowa. They found the remains of Dracorex during a fossil collecting trip in the Hell Creek Formation of central South Dakota. It was Steve Saulsbury who first suggested that they donate their new find. Steve fondly recalled taking his daughter Alexandra to the museum when he and his family lived in Indianapolis during his residency at Indiana University Hospital in the early 1990s. Steve talked to the others, and they soon agreed the museum would be the perfect home for this specimen. The trio donated their discovery to the museum in late 2004. When Dracorex came to the museum it was still in the plaster field jacket.



Dracorex is a controversial dinosaur genus of the family Pachycephalosauridae, from the Late Cretaceous of North America. The type (and only known) species is Dracorex hogwartsia, meaning "dragon king of Hogwarts". This dinosaur is named for the wizard school in the Harry Potter books. It is known from one nearly complete skull (the holotype TCMI 2004.17.1), as well as four cervical vertebrae: the atlas, third, eighth and ninth. These were discovered in the Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota by three amateur paleontologists from Sioux City, in the U.S. state of Iowa. The skull was subsequently donated to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis for study in 2004, and was formally described by Bob Bakker and Robert Sullivan in 2006. However, Jack Horner et al. suspect that it is a juvenile Pachycephalosaurus and an analysis of pachycephalosaur fossils by a joint team from the University of California, Berkeley and the Museum of the Rockies has questioned the validity of two named genera of pachycephalosaur, Dracorex and Stygimoloch. According to the team, specimens of Dracorex and Stygimoloch might actually represent earlier growth stages of Pachycephalosaurus. This has been supported in a 2016 analysis of the youngest Pachycephalosaurus material known, which indicates that the unique features of Dracorex instead represent ontogenetically variant features on a Pachycephalosaurus growth curve.


Reconstructed skeleton, Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The almost perfectly intact skull which has been painstakingly reassembled certainly bears a striking resemblance to the dragons of lore. In fact, the palaeontologists were so struck by the resemblance that they have named their unique discovery the Dracorex Hogwartsia. ‘Dracroex’ is derived from the Latin, meaning ‘dragon king’ and ‘Hogwartsia’ is derived from Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, the fictional school in J.K Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series whose school motto is, “Never tickle a sleeping dragon”.

Is the clear resemblance of this newly discovered ancient reptile to a dragon coincidence? Or is it possible that dragons really did once fly in the skies of this planet? It is actually not outside of the realms of possibility that dragons were a real species at some point in the past and they may have even lived alongside human beings. There are repeated references in literature and documentation to dragons from antiquity onwards. These allusions appear in the literature of cultures as diverse as the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, China, the Middle East, the Byzantine Empire and even the relatively culturally isolation Native American nations. References to dragons even feature in the Christian Bible. Of all of the presumably fictional beasts in world folklore, the dragon is by far the most prevalent.

Does this suggest that these stories had some kind of basis of fact? And if so, what caused them to become extinct?




Research Links of Interest:

https://www.disclose.tv/palaeontologists-discover-a-dragons-skull-in-south-dakota-310962

https://siouxcityjournal.com/news/sioux-city-men-display-replicas-of-dinosaur-bones-unearthed-in/article_81867b94-8167-5eca-a2ba-82d3e66801a5.html

https://www.childrensmuseum.org/blog/meet-dracorex-hogwartsia-v2

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=Palaeontologists



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