Dakota is the nickname given to a fossil Edmontosaurus annectens found in the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota. It is about 67 million years old, placing it in the Maastrichtian, the last stage of the Cretaceous period. It was about 11 m (35 ft) long and weighed about 3.5 tons.
The fossil is unusual and scientifically valuable because soft tissue including skin and muscle have been fossilized, giving researchers the rare opportunity to study more than bones, as with most vertebrate fossils. Preliminary research results indicate that hadrosaurs had heavier tails and were able to run faster than was previously thought.
Dinosaur fossils with Dakota's degree of preservation are extremely rare because many different factors must come together to allow it to occur. The carcass first must escape scavengers as well as degradation by the elements. The soft tissue must then be mineralized before it decomposes. Finally, as with all fossils, the mineralized body must escape destruction by geological forces over millions of years.
Dakota was first discovered by paleontology student Tyler Lyson on his family's North Dakota property in 1999 while he was a high school student, but he did not investigate the site in detail until 2004, when he discovered the soft tissue preservation. Lyson teamed with British paleontologist Phillip Manning, and the site was excavated in summer 2006.
Manning's team used a large-scale CT scanner, provided by NASA and the Boeing Company, to generate high-resolution scans of the preserved muscles and tendons of the rear legs. Because the intervertebral discs which space out the spinal column of the tail have been fossilized, researchers have been able to calculate its length more accurately. The preservation of its muscles and tendons allow the calculation of its mass. The results indicate the dinosaur could likely have run at 45 km/h (28 mph), faster than the estimated top speed of Tyrannosaurus rex, at 32 km/h (20 mph).
The well-preserved integument has retained its texture, and researchers have mapped it in three dimensions. The scales are of different sizes, and researchers speculate that their pattern may reflect the animal's coloration in life. For example, areas of an arm's joints are textured in what resembles a striped pattern.
This fossil's examination was the subject of a National Geographic documentary, Dino Autopsy.
Aquilarhinus (meaning "eagle snout" after the unusual beak morphology) is a genus of hadrosaurid ornithopod dinosaur from the Aguja Formation from Texas in the United States. The type and only species is Aquilarhinus palimentus. Due to its unusual dentary, it has been inferred to have had shovel-like beak morphology, different from the beaks of other hadrosaurs. It was originally classified as a Kritosaurus sp. before being reclassified as a new genus in 2019.Aralosaurini
Aralosaurini is a tribe of basal lambeosaurine hadrosaurs endemic to Eurasia. It currently contains Aralosaurus (from the Aral sea of Kazakhstan) and Canardia (from Toulouse, Southern France).Choyrodon
Choyrodon is a genus of hadrosauroid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Albian-age Khuren Dukh Formation of Mongolia. The type and only species is Choyrodon barsboldi. The generic name is derived from the city of Choyr, and -odon, from Greek for tooth; the specific name barsboldi honours paleontologist Rinchen Barsbold. The material consists of a holotype partial skull and cervical ribs, with two other partial skulls both with associated postcranial material. It was found to be the sister taxon of Eolambia.Elasmaria
Elasmaria is a clade of iguanodont ornithopods known from Cretaceous deposits in South America, Antarctica, and Australia.Iguanodontia
Iguanodontia (the iguanodonts) is a clade of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived from the Middle Jurassic to Late Cretaceous. Some members include Camptosaurus, Dryosaurus, Iguanodon, Tenontosaurus, and the hadrosaurids or "duck-billed dinosaurs". Iguanodontians were one of the first groups of dinosaurs to be found. They are among the best known of the dinosaurs, and were among the most diverse and widespread herbivorous dinosaur groups of the Cretaceous period.Jaxartosaurus
Jaxartosaurus is a genus of hadrosaurid dinosaur similar to Corythosaurus which lived during the Late Cretaceous. Its fossils were found in Kazakhstan.Jeyawati
Jeyawati is a genus of hadrosauroid dinosaur which lived during the Turonian stage of the Late Cretaceous. The type species, J. rugoculus, was described in 2010, based on fossils recovered in the U.S. state of New Mexico.The holotype, MSM P4166, was discovered in the Moreno Hill Formation. A cladistic analysis indicates that Jeyawati was more plesiomorphic (ancestral) than Shuangmiaosaurus, Telmatosaurus, and Bactrosaurus, but more derived (less like the common ancestor) than Eolambia, Probactrosaurus, and Protohadros.Koshisaurus
Koshisaurus is a monospecific genus of basal hadrosauroid from the Kitadani Formation in Japan. The discovery of the genus suggests that hadrosauroids had higher diversity along the eastern margin of Asia in the Early Cretaceous. "Koshi" means an old Japanese regional name including Fukui prefecture where fossils of the genus were discovered.Laiyangosaurus
Laiyangosaurus ("Laiyang lizard") is a genus of saurolophine hadrosaurid from the Late Cretaceous of China. It is known from one species, L.youngi, found in the Laiyang Basin within the province of Shandong.Lanzhousaurus
Lanzhousaurus is a genus of dinosaur. Lanzhousaurus lived in the Gansu region of what is now China during the Early Cretaceous (Barremian). A partial skeleton has been recovered. It was described by You, Ji and Li in 2005 and the type and only species is Lanzhousaurus magnidens.Lapampasaurus
Lapampasaurus is an extinct genus of hadrosaurid known from the Late Cretaceous Allen Formation (late Campanian or early Maastrichtian stage) of La Pampa Province, Argentina. It contains a single species, Lapampasaurus cholinoi.The generic name refers to the Argentine province of La Pampa. The specific name honours the late collector José Cholino. The material includes cervical, dorsal, sacral and caudal vertebrae, the forelimb girdle, and the partial hindlimb.Osmakasaurus
Osmakasaurus is a genus of herbivorous iguanodontian dinosaur. It is a basal iguanodontian which lived during the lower Cretaceous period (Valanginian age) in what is now Buffalo Gap of South Dakota, United States. It is known from the Chilson Member of the Lakota Formation. This genus was named by Andrew T. McDonald in 2011 and the type species is Osmakasaurus depressus. O. depressus was previously referred to as Camptosaurus depressus, and was first described in 1909 by Charles W. Gilmore.Parasaurolophini
Parasaurolophini is a tribe of derived lambeosaurine hadrosaurids that are native to Asia, N. America, and probably Europe. It is defined as everything closer to Parasaurolophus walkeri than to Lambeosaurus lambei. It currently contains Charonosaurus (from China), Parasaurolophus (from Utah, New Mexico, China and Alberta), and possibly Blasisaurus and Arenysaurus (both from Spain)Penelopognathus
Penelopognathus ("wild duck jaw") is a genus of dinosaur which lived during the Early Cretaceous. It was an iguanodont ancestral to hadrosaurids. Fossils have been found in the Bayin-Gobi Formation in what is now China. The type species, Penelopognathus weishampeli, was described by Godefroit, Li, and Shang in 2005, based on fragmentary jaw fossils.Plesiohadros
Plesiohadros is an extinct genus of hadrosauroid dinosaur. It is known from a partial skeleton including the skull collected at Alag Teg locality, from the Campanian Djadochta Formation of southern Mongolia. The type species is Plesiohadros djadokhtaensis.Rhabdodontomorpha
Rhabdodontomorpha is a clade of basal iguanodont dinosaurs. This group was named in 2016 in the context of the description, based on Spanish findings, of an early member of the Rhabdodontidae. A cladistic analysis was conducted in which it was found that Muttaburrasaurus was the sister species of the Rhabdodontidae sensu Weishampel. Therefore, Paul-Emile Dieudonné, Thierry Tortosa, Fidel Torcida Fernández-Baldor, José Ignacio Canudo and Ignacio Díaz-Martínez defined Rhabdodontomorpha as a nodal clade: the group consisting of the last common ancestor of Rhabdodon priscus Matheron, 1869 and Muttaburrasaurus langdoni Bartholomai and Molnar, 1981; and all its descendants. Within the clade are included also Zalmoxes and Mochlodon.The group consists of small to large plant eaters from Europe and Gondwana. It must have split from other iguanodont groups during the Middle Jurassic.Sahaliyania
Sahaliyania (from "black" in Manchu, a reference to the Amur/Heilongjiang River) is a genus of lambeosaurine hadrosaurid dinosaur (crested duckbilled dinosaur) from the Late Cretaceous of Heilongjiang, China.Xuwulong
Xuwulong is a genus of hadrosauroid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous period. It lived during the early Cretaceous period (Aptian-Albian age) in what is now Yujingzi Basin in the Jiuquan area, Gansu Province of northwestern China. It is known from the holotype – GSGM F00001, an articulated specimen including a complete cranium, almost complete axial skeleton, and complete left pelvic girdle from Xinminpu Group. Xuwulong was named by You Hailu, Li Daqing and Liu Weichang in 2011 and the type species is Xuwulong yueluni.