Posted by: Scott | Friday, June 8, 2007

Million Dollar Magpie In Thermopolis?

Yes, you read the title right. Thermopolis is the new home of a million dollar magpie (or at least something of a similar size):

The archaeopteryx specimen is second only to a specimen in Berlin in terms of completeness. Scientists say the specimen in Wyoming is easily worth more than $1 million.

It is one of 10 known archaeopteryx fossils in the world and is being called the “Thermopolis specimen,” after it was acquired by the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in December 2005.

Scott Hartman, science director at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, said the quality of the 150-million-year-old fossil puts the Wyoming museum in a league with much larger, more prestigious museums in London and Berlin, where two other archaeopteryx fossils are located.

The archaeopteryx, which was about the size of a magpie, lived during the Jurassic period and is the first animal whose fossil reveals feathers.

150 million years old and it’s only valued at “more than $1 million?” The real question is how do they know it’s 150 million years old? Oh, yea, it was found in a particular type of rock, and  they know how old the rock is because this fossil was there. So, now that the question remains unanswered, how about the possibility of the dino-bird only being 4,ooo years or so? Yea, I’m “one of those yahoos” that questions evolution and the timelines they produce.

Sure it’s pretty cool that Thermopolis is officially on the globe now, but I always thought Thermop was a pretty cool place anyway (ironic when you consider that thermopolis means “hot city”).

“It had wings with feathers that look like modern-day birds,” Hartman said in a statement released by the museum. “The wings are big enough that most say it could fly, but the feet are much more dinosaurlike.”

I think God created this critter just to get people scratching their heads (sorta like they do with the platypus).


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