The intestines, the colon,
the liver, some muscles, and the windpipe are intact. Though fossilized, they allow
scientists to study the anatomy of the dinosaur as if it were truly a mummy with soft
Up to now, most scientists have believed
that dinosaurs were (1) warm-blooded and (2) related to birds. But the dinosaur mummy has
begun to change all that.
The fossilized mummy (a type of therapod
named Scipionyx samniticus) reveals a great deal of information when seen under an
ultraviolet light (which highlights the internal organs). The colon glows bright yellow
under the ultraviolet light and is placed very close to the spine, similar to modern
crocodiles. For this reason and others (the breathing system also seems quite similar to
the crocodile, although the lungs were not preserved in the fossil), some scientists now
wonder if this dinosaur and other therapods like the Tyrannosaurus rex were cold-blooded.
On the other hand, other scientists aren't
ready to give up that idea (based on one dinosaur mummy) that dinosaurs are more closely
related to birds. They wonder if birds could have evolved from crocodiles which
evolved from dinosaurs. (New York Times, p. D5 1/26/99 and The Oregonian,
pp. D11-12, 1/26/99)
Today the fossil is exhibited
at the Museo civico di storia naturale in Milan, Italy.
Mummies: Beyond Bare-Bone Fossils
Milner Halls takes
the reader on a chronological tour of various dinosaur mummy discoveries,
starting with the 1908 discovery of the Sternberg mummies. She moves on to
other fossilized discoveries, including the baby dinosaur in Italy. Highly
readable and highly recommended for kids.