Researchers Find Ancient Past in North Texas Dinosaur Dig

More than a decade after the first fossil was unearthed, the Arlington Archosaur site continues to yield new, ancient discoveries.

"This has turned out to be an amazing ride," said Art Sahlstein, who discovered the site in North Arlington in 2003. "The site is still producing amazing fossils, new creatures, never before seen any place on the planet. And they're Texas-only dinosaurs."

On a recent Saturday, volunteers uncovered a fossilized bone from a prehistoric crocodile.

"We have four, maybe more, species of crocs here and this represents probably one of the younger individuals of one of our big crocs," said Dr. Chris Noto, paleontologist at the University of Wisconsin who oversees the dig site.

"We're talking about 95 to 96 million years ago," Noto said. "And at this point, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was prime ocean-front real estate".

The thousands of fossils collected from the Arlington Archosaur site are now at Fair Park in Dallas, kept securely cataloged at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science Building.

"It's the diversity of what's coming out of here. I mean, we have crocs, turtles, dinosaurs, fish fragments," said Dr. Ron Tykoski, Perot Museum Fossil Preparator. "Just an incredible number of species of things out there splashing around, eating one another and trying not to be eaten at the same time. So many things come out of here and it's going to allow us to paint a really full picture of what life was like right here in Dallas-Fort Worth 95, 96 million years ago."

Volunteers still gather weekly to excavate the hillside, each highly skilled at carefully searching for evidence of an ancient age.

"My heart beats when I find something new," said Stephen King, who started volunteering eight years ago. "I'm just uncovering the past. The crazy thing about it, the bones talk to me. They don't tell me what I'm going to find during the day, but they just show me the land in my dreams where I'm going to find something."

"Every new fossil that we find here, every new piece of information that we uncover is important," said Noto. "Because there's nothing else quite like this outside the DFW area."

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