Mummy

Shall Life renew these bodies Of a truth All death will he annul, all tears assuage Or fill these void veins full again with youth And wash with an immortal water age Wilfred Owen THE TERM MUMMY has been used to mean many different things. It is broadly recognized as indicating a preserved body, but mummies can be produced in many ways. They can be human or animal. They can be artificially created by human effort, or naturally produced by accidents or particular environmental conditions. A...

The Mysterious Missing Mummy

Osborn noted another remarkable fact in his 1912 report The Sternberg mummy was not actually the first dinosaur discovered with a substantial covering of fossilized skin. It was only the first one brought back intact. By the time of his paper, seven specimens in all had been reported with skin impressions. In 1884, Dr. J. L. Wortman had discovered the type specimen of Trachodon mirabilis (coded AMNH 5730), a magnificent specimen that was triumphantly mounted in the American Museum as part of...

Earliest Metazoans And Darwins Dilemma

The history of complex forms of life begins around the dawn of the Paleozoic Era, some 575 million years ago, when recognizable ancestors of many of today's phyla made their debut. Thirty million years later, a great diversity of new forms of life appeared just before and after the beginning of the Cambrian Period so many that this burst of evolutionary branching is often referred to as the Cambrian explosion.This was the great expansion of the metazoans, animal life-forms characterized by...

Death Of A Dinosaur

One hundred percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased. C. S. Lewis OMINOUS STORM CLOUDS built over the shores of the coastal flood-plain behind them. Sweltering moisture-laden air blew through the endless march of dinosaurs. It made the elder members of the herd uneasy, increasing the urgency of the herd's pace. The floodplain had the potential to become treacherous if the rains came early. The vast herd of hadrosaurs had trodden the same trails for millennia, leaving millions...

Hard Fossils And Biomineralization

The Cambrian explosion was certainly a time of unprecedented evolutionary diversification that laid the groundwork for the body types and basic structural organizations that still dominate the world's biota today. The rapidity of this development and the foundational importance of these ancestral lines of organisms make the Lower Cambrian a period of tremendous paleontologi-cal interest. To many evolutionary biologists, this is the single most interesting period in the history of life. For that...

Leonardo Dinosaur Mummy

On July 20, 2000, a remarkable discovery came to light in the Judith River Formation in Montana. It dated back 77 million years, to the late Cretaceous Period. Discovered by staff and volunteers from the Judith River Foundation (JRF), the find was a subadult hadrosaur, a Brachylophosaurus canadensis. This was another of the so-called duck-billed dinosaurs, a plant eater about seven meters in length. Excavation would reveal that the skeleton was nearly complete and fully articulated. That means...

Barnum Brown S Corythosaur Mummy

In 1912, Sternberg's great peer in the world of Western dinosaur collection discovered his own dinosaur mummy, a largely complete specimen with substantial soft-tissue preservation and skin impressions AMNH 5240 .The peer was Barnum Brown, and the dinosaur a new genus was Corythosaurus. This was another had-rosaur, similar in form to Edmontosaurus and Anatotitan, but with a different crown structure on its head. In 1914 Brown discovered a second specimen of this dinosaur, a nearly complete...

The Woolly Rhinoceros

Mammoths are not the only Ice Age species to be naturally preserved in forms that can be considered mummies. An Ice Age contemporary of the woolly mammoth was the woolly rhinoceros Coelodonta sp. , which appears in beautiful Paleolithic cave paintings in Europe. The animal is known from skeletal remains, but these all pale beside one quite extraordinary find from Starunia in the western Ukraine. An adult female woolly rhino was discovered here in 1929, in a very unusual preservation environment...

The Sternbergs

In the history of American field paleontology, one famous dynasty of fossil hunters takes a prominent place, and in the history of dinosaur mummies, that same dynasty stands unquestionably matchless. This family of remarkably productive fossil hunters consisted of a man and his three sons. To fully appreciate these individuals and their discoveries, we must journey back to the very different era to which they belonged. The later 1800s were the days of the legendary American Old West, when the...

Titanic Loss To Paleontology

After publishing his memoir, Charles Sternberg went on to find not only the 1910 Senckenberg mummy but still more hadrosaur specimens after that, including another particularly fine one with skin impressions. The British Museum of Natural History purchased many of these hadrosaur specimens, along with a large collection of other fossils from Alberta. All these were shipped across the Atlantic in 1916, in the midst of World War I. The Canadian transport vessel Mount Temple, carrying the 22 boxes...

Santana

The Araripe Plateau in northeastern Brazil stands above a great limestone formation known as the Santana. It was laid down in the early Cretaceous Period, between 108 and 92 million years ago. Exposures at the edges of the chapada, or tableland, expose the Santana Formation and the Crato, which was originally considered part of the Santana, but is now reclassified by Marto as a separate formation in its own right . For discussion purposes here, the Crato and its contents are included with the...

Bog Bodies

Other mummy-like results have been created naturally by the accident of human bodies being placed in environments that have a strong effect of retarding decomposition. Among these are peat bogs and frigid environments. One of the most peculiar modes of natural mummification is that of the so-called bog bodies. However, the use of the term mummy is applied loosely here, given that few archaeologists would call a bog body a mummy. Yet the soft-tissue preservation in the finest of these corpses...

The Greenland Mummies

Mummies can provide surprising insights when their special preservation is creatively exploited. Eight Inuit Eskimo bodies were discovered in two grave pits at Qilakitsoq, Greenland, in 1972.The two brothers who discovered the graves while hunting alerted the authorities, who did not excavate the site until 1977, when it was found to date from about 1475. Protected from the weather by their burial, the bodies had been largely preserved by the area's climate, which maintained them under low...

Dima The Baby Mammoth

On June 23, 1977, the Siberian strip miner Anatoly Logachev was bulldozing a patch of freshly thawed ground when his machine encountered a tough, dark hairy mass in the earth. He dismounted to investigate, and his comrades helped him uncover the anomaly by hosing the area with warm water. Logachev had discovered the complete mummy of a baby woolly mammoth. To interrupt mining operations would cost him part of his livelihood, but for the sake of this remarkable find, Logachev did stop, and...

Xray Investigation

The exceptional preservation of a mummified dinosaur invites extreme curiosity about its internal structures, but responsible investigators are loath to bore destructively through the precious skin fossils in order to explore what might or might not lie beneath. Accordingly, advanced technology is now being brought to bear on well-preserved fossil specimens, in experimental approaches via digital imaging. In the summer of 2006, Leonardo was examined by a Kodak Industrex ACR-2000i digital x-ray...

The Sternberg Mummy

Among all their most remarkable and spectacular finds, one in particular holds special relevance for us here. By 1908, the Sternberg dynasty had graduated from being mere hired hands for Cope and had earned independent status. They were able to work autonomously and provide their finds to a range of very interested institutions. That summer Sternberg led his unique family team on a great hunt for the largest skull of any known vertebrate, the great three-horned dinosaur Triceratops. Here was a...

The Adams Mammoth

The first mammoth brought back from the Siberian wilderness to civilization proved hardly less surprising than a stuffed Abominable Snowman would today, confirming what had until then been merely outlandish legends and folk tales of great furry beasts that lived underground in the treacherous lands of the tundra. On the coast of the icy Laptev Sea in remote north-central Siberia, a local hunter named Shumakhov noted an odd large lump in the frozen ground in 1799. He watched it emerge from the...

The Siberian Ice Maiden

Cold also helped preserve an ancient Pazyryk woman, dating to the 400s B.C., whose elaborate undisturbed burial mound was discovered in Siberia in 1993. The body had been embalmed and packed with peat and bark, which would have provided some preservation through its tannic acid content, but the primary factor in her preservation was flooding, which appears to have occurred soon after the interment. The waters then froze, locking the tomb in permafrost for 2,400 years.This preservation has left...