Auburn University geologist to give talk on 'Auburn's dinosaur' Nov. 7

Published: October 30, 2014
Updated: November 04, 2014
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn geology professor David King will give a public presentation Friday, Nov. 7, about his 1982 discovery in Montgomery County, Alabama, of the most complete tyrannosaur ever found in eastern North America. He will present "Auburn's Dinosaur" at 3 p.m. in The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center auditorium.

King's discovery created a new genus and species and caused a reevaluation of the evolution of tyrannosaurid dinosaurs and where they may have originated. The dinosaur, named Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis, meaning "Appalachian lizard from Montgomery," is commonly referred to as Auburn's dinosaur.

During the initial discovery in July 1982, King and a group of researchers from Auburn University recovered fragments of skull, limbs, a hind foot and pelvic elements in a small hill adjacent to a county road in southeastern Montgomery County.

The second excavation, conducted by personnel from the Red Mountain Museum of Birmingham, now the McWane Center in Birmingham, uncovered additional bones. In all, the skeleton is around 40 percent complete.

The dinosaur is a small, more primitive cousin of the famous Tyrannosaurus rex and was once indigenous to Alabama and surrounding Southeastern states from around 100 to 65 million years ago. During that time, the Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis was the top predator in the tropical rainforests of the Appalachian foothills and surrounding low plains.

The skeleton of the Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis is currently housed in the McWane Center where it is frequently on public display. The type specimen remains the property of the Department of Geology and Geography in Auburn's College of Sciences and Mathematics.

The lecture is co-sponsored by Auburn University Libraries and the College of Sciences and Mathematics. Light refreshments will be served prior to the presentation, which is free and open to the public.

For more information on the Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis, go to the Encyclopedia of Alabama website at http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-231.

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