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  • New Utah Dinosaur Named after Martha Hayden, Assistant to the Utah State Paleontologist
    by Tammy Kikuchi
    Published - 09/13/12 - 08:02 AM | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Martha Hayden excavates dinosaur fossils. Photo courtesy Utah Department of Natural Resources
    Martha Hayden excavates dinosaur fossils. Photo courtesy Utah Department of Natural Resources
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    (Salt Lake City, UT) - Martharaptor greenriverensis, a puzzling dinosaur lacking a complete skeleton, has been named after its co-discoverer Martha Hayden. Hayden, a dedicated advocate of paleontology, has served for more than 20 years as the assistant to several Utah state paleontologists. She has also donated numerous volunteer hours in her paleontological endeavors, and works with the Utah Geological Survey (UGS).

    The dinosaur’s remains were found in the roughly 125-million-year-old rock of the Cedar Mountain Formation southeast of Green River, Utah, and collected under permit from the Bureau of Land Management and placed into the collections of the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City.

    It was originally thought to be a meat-eating dinosaur, supported by the fact that other theropods (such as the famous Utahraptor) have been found in the same rocks. Some of Martharaptor’s remains, especially the scapula and claws resemble the pot-bellied, bipedal dinosaurs called therizinosaurs. The well-known therizinosaur Falcarius utahensis was found very close by in slightly older rocks. These omnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs stand out in having long necks and large hand claws.

    Until a complete skeleton is found, the Martharaptor greenriverensis will remain an enigma. And possibly, Hayden herself will make the next discovery.

    The Utah Geological Survey provides timely scientific information about Utah’s geologic environment, resources, and hazards.

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