Did dinosaurs once roam Minnesota?
Until recently, there was little evidence to suggest any lived here at all, but the latest in a string of stunning discoveries is adding weight to the idea that the "terrible lizards" did indeed live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
The Star Tribune reports that the discovery of a one-and-three-quarter inch claw bone at the Hill Annex Mine on the Mesabi Iron Range is giving paleontologists a at the Science Museum of Minnesota "renewed hope" that more fossils will be discovered.
It is only the third piece of dinosaur remains ever documented in Minnesota, the newspaper says, and is thought to be 90 million-years-old. This would place it in the Cretaceous Period.
According to MPR, scientists have always believed dinosaurs roamed Minnesota (wherever it was hundreds of millions of years ago), but that much of the evidence of this has been swept away through erosion before they could be preserved, or were buried deep by glaciers.
"It's exciting for the people of Minnesota to think, we do have dinosaurs here," Macalester College paleontologist Kristi Curry Rogers told the news organisation. "We always thought we did, but now we have some hard evidence for those animals."
John Westgaard, a researcher at the Science Museum, told the Star Tribune that the claw belongs to a meat-eating dinosaur, possibly similar to the velociraptor.
He also said the "common line" for visitors to the museum has been that evidence of dinosaurs "just doesn't exist here" since the remains were thought to have been swept away – a line of thinking that is now being reviewed.
Hill Annex Mine State Park is a major site of interest for scientists looking for dinosaur remains and is now the subject of research organized by the state park and the Science Museum, according to the Hibbing Daily Tribune.
“This location could be as good as any in the state to yield an ancient beast of the Age of Dinosaurs, perhaps even the first confirmed Minnesota dinosaur fossil,” the authors of the Hill Annex Paleontology Project wrote, according to the newspaper. "There is enormous potential here for scientific discovery and revelation of Minnesota’s Cretaceous past."