Artist's Reconstruction Of California's State Dinosaur

Click on the image for a larger picture. An artist's reconstruction of California's State Dinosaur, a hadrosaur duckbilled fellow called Augustynolophus morrisi. In life, it would have weighed some three tons, with a 26-foot length. This specific variety of hadrosaur occurs only in the upper Cretaceous portions of the upper Cretaceous to Paleocene Moreno Formation, exposed near the western edge of California's Great Central Valley. A fascinating side-story here is that sophisticated high resolution stratigraphic sampling of Moreno Formation foraminfera (tiny shells secreted by a microscopic single-celled organism)--exquisitely sensitive time indicators that lived and died during specific, restricted moments in geologic time--proves that during deposition of the Moreno Formation, the hadrosaur dinosaurs went extinct a full 1.23 million years before the infamous meteorite impact 66 million years ago--a devastating event many investigators identify as the kill-shot that ended the dinosaurian dynasty on Earth. Photograph courtesy a specific web site.

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