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Hammer adds another new dinosaur to his collection

Dr. William Hammer

(February 2011) Paleontologist and professor of geology Dr. William Hammer has found a new type of dinosaur in a recent expedition to the Central Trans-Antarctic Mountains. The newly discovered species, a four or five-foot ornithischian or bird-hipped dinosaur, is on its way back to the United States in about 5,000 pounds of rock.

Dr. Hammer, Josh Mathews, chief fossil preparator, and several fellow researchers spent more than two months at the end of last year working on the range of mountains. Each day researchers would catch a helicopter from Beardmore Glacier up to the digging site on Mt. Kirkpatrick, which was about 12,500 feet elevation.

This is the second time Dr. Hammer has discovered a new dinosaur in the Antarctic region. In 1991, he uncovered a Cryolophosauraus ellioti, which means "frozen crested reptile" and represents the only crested theropod to be found in Antarctica.

For more on the expedition and its findings, see DiscoveryNews.

(Photos courtesy Josh Mathews, chief fossil preparator)


Chalk outlines dinosaur bones found in rock. The largest outline (under the numeral 1) is thought to be a vertebrae. The entire chunk of rock is cut into a large block to be transported back to base via helicopter.
 Jackhammering around a piece of fossil-containing rock to prepare it for transport.
Taking a break on the rocky slope.
Dr. William Hammer walks at the front of a group reconnoitering the area.
Josh Mathews, chief fossil preparator, stands in front of a transport that is used to take the scientists to their base.
Cargo planes come equipped with skis.
The Hercules cargo plane is packed with gear, leaving just enojgh room for the crew.
Dr. William Hammer
Measuring and photographing an area where pieces will be excavated.
National Science Foundation helicopter is used to carry huge  fossil-bearing chunks of rock back to base.
The crew at the CTAM  (Central Trans-Antarctic Mountains) camp. These mountains are the dividing line between East Antarctica and West Antarctica.
Scientists sleep in tents that are not heated. Since it's summer in Antarctica (roughly October through February) the sun shines 24 hours a day and tents stay warm.
The camp dining hall. The CTAM has buildings for mechanics, science, medical and laundry, as well as an adjoining tent city.
Josh Mathews, left, chief fossil preparator, poses for a photo with Dr. William Hammer.