Paleo Profile: Alcide d’Orbigny’s Dawn Beast
Vertebrate paleontology has a sample size problem. Only a fraction of all the creatures that ever lived became preserved in the fossil record, and an even tinier sliver of that array has been discovered, cleaned, and studied. Even the most famous animals, like the fearsome Tyrannosaurus, are known from a (figurative) handful of individuals scattered through swaths of rock spanning a million years or more. Finding enough fossils to even start to pick at the biology of an extinct species is a tall order.
But every now and then paleontologists strike just the right spot. One such locality, near Tiupampa, Bolivia, is simply known as “The Quarry”, but don’t be fooled by the lackluster name. This is one of the best