Fossil Forum--April

                              "Dinny the Dino"



                                            "Dinny, the Dinosaur of the University of Delaware"

                                            By Jennifer Anné

Dinny, the Dinosaur Article
Article Contributors
Photo & Graphics Credits
Suggested Reading
Invitation to Members
Future Fossil Forums
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Who or what is "Dinny the Dino"?...



...a DGS mystery for over 60 years!

Photos by Ken Casey ©2006


     Welcome to a new format for fossils--the DMS "Fossil Forum"!  One of our newest student
members, Jennifer Anné has written on her experience of her study of a special dinosaur skeleton,
which has become a part of Delaware paleontological lore.



     Welcome to our first Fossil Forum! 

     This month, we are investigating the mystery of an unidentified dinosaur specimen that has
rested in the Delaware Geological Survey basement for over half a century.  Enjoy!

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Delaware Geological Survey Sign Delaware Geological Survey Building Penny Hall, University of Delaware


Dinny, the Dinosaur of the University of Delaware

     After sitting in the basement of Penny Hall for over 60 years, the remains of Dinny the dinosaur
have finally begun to get the attention they deserve.  There are no records on who found them, when,
where, what formation, or what age, the hunt for the identity of the modge-podge of bones. Dinny is
an assemblage of haphazard bones that are being prepared by students at the University as part of
the Fossil Preparation course offered by undergraduate, Jennifer Anné.  This 1 credit course meets
once a week in the downstairs lab of the DGS for an hour and learns how to properly prepare fossils. 
Students learn about different glues and stabilizers, how to use tools such as an airscribe (something
like a mini jack hammer), and above all, the appreciation of getting the fossils from the ground to display.  Although Dinny is the main focus, students also prepare fossils from Sewell, NJ, fix specimens used
by the geology classes, and even offer to fix and stabilize people’s personal collections.  This gives the students a well-rounded experience in different forms of fossilization as well as dealing with different
types of matrix.

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DGS Fossil Preparation Lab Airscribe Tool Dinny's Fossil Prep

     Since there is no information on Dinny, the students must rely on every aspect of geology and
paleontology to do some hard core detective work.  Clay nodules in the hard sandstone matrix were
saved to be properly prepared to search for pollen.  The pollen will be identified by Dr. Pete McLaughlin
from the DGS, who apart from being a great palynologist, also is responsible for giving the students the
space in the DGS and helped in supplying them with many of the materials needed.  Pictures of the handwriting on some of the casts have been sent to someone at the Smithsonian for handwriting
analysis. An x-ray defraction sample will be taken to search for characteristic minerals that may identify
the formation.

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Red mineralization in bones Antique burlap that wraps Dinny Edge of large Dinny bone

     As of now, the consensus on Dinny is the he is a Titanosaur, a sauropod like Brachiosaurus. 
This is based on several characteristics including comparison of some of the bones with specimens
shown in The Thunderlizards, a book about sauropods that came out in 2005.  At least 2 of the bones
matched perfectly with those of Titanosaurus, part of a radius and ulna.  Other supporting facts for a
Titanosaur are that the bones are not hollow, show that the creature was a herbivore.  The bones show
a red mineralogy characteristic of the Morrison Formation, which is Late Jurassic in age and thus would
house Titanosaurus.   The final bit of evidence is the overall size of the bones, with one being over 3 feet
long and that is with a part missing from the end.

jenniferanne.jpg (301573 bytes)      Hopefully the mystery of Dinny will be solved by the end of the year.  When the preparations are complete, the specimen will go on display at the DGS, Penny Hall, or the Iron Hill Museum.  Jennifer Anné hopes to present this project at the GSA conference in Philadelphia.



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Close-up of restoration Close-up of blood vessel channels


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Restoration of a bone section Piecing together of Dinny


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Cross-section of blood vessel channels Closer view of vesicles


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Table layout of associated bone assemblages


Color-corrected and enhanced to show contrast in mineralization
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Closer view of bone Tray of Delaware fossils in process of preparation in Jenn's class


Photos by Ken Casey ©2006




Palynology Links

The Delaware Geological Survey

The University of Delaware Department of Geology

Morrison Formation

Iron Hill Museum, Newark, Delaware

The Geological Society of America (GSA)

Paleoworld 2005 Field Log


Members' Gallery

In future Fossil Forums, here is where DMS Members can add their fossil photos to share with us.


Until Next Time

     We hope you have enjoyed Jenn Anné's article on "Dinny the Dino".  Please join us in the future
for more fossils in our new forum!
     Until then, stay safe, and happy collecting. hardhat2a.gif (2617 bytes)



Article Contributors

Photo & Graphics Credits and Permissions

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of our fellow fossil
enthusiasts, collectors, authors, curators, educators, professionals, and club members who
made this work possible. 

Dr. Pete McLaughlin, DGS and University of Delaware

Delaware Geological Survey (Special Permissions & Collections)

University of Delaware, Department of Geology (Special Permissions & Collections)

Ken Casey, DMS Webmaster (Photos)

© 2006  All contributions to this article are covered under the copyright protection of this article
and by separate and several copyright protection(s), and are to be used for the sole purposes of
enjoying this scholarly article.  They are used gratefully with express written permission of the
authors, save for generally-accepted scholarly quotes, short in nature, deemed legal to reference
with the appropriate citation and credit.
  Reproduction of this article must be obtained by express
written permission of the author, Kenneth B. Casey, for his contributions, authoring, photos, and
graphics.  Use of all other credited materials requires permission of each contributor separately

Links and general contact information are included in the credits above, and throughout this article.
The advice offered herein are only suggestions; it is the reader's charge to use the information
contained herein responsibly.  DMS is not responsible for misuse or accidents caused from this
article. All opinions, theories, proofs, and views expressed within this article, and in others on this
website, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.

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About the Author:  Jennifer Anné is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware studying geology and paleontology.   Along with being the President of the University of Delaware's Geology Club, she is a member of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.

Jenn was on the team who discovered the most complete crocodilian specimen from the Inversand Mine, Sewell, New Jersey.

Invitation to Members


Want to see your name in print?  Want to co-author, contribute, or author a whole Fossil Forum article?  Well, this the forum for you!

And Members, if you have pictures, or a story you would like to share, please feel free to offer.  We'd like to post them for our mutual enjoyment.   Of course, you get full photo and author credit, and a chance to reach other collectors, hobbyists, and scientists.  We only ask that you check your facts, give credit where it is due, keep it wholesome for our Junior Members watching, and keep on topic regarding rockhounding.

You don't even have to be experienced in making a webpage.  We can work together to publish your story.  A handwritten short story with a Polaroid will do.  If you do fancier, a text document with a digital photo will suit, as well.   Sharing is the groundwork from which we can get your story out there.

Our club's webpages can reach any person surfing the net in the world, and even on the International Space Station, if they have a mind to view our website!

We are hoping for a possible tie-in to other informative programs upon which our fellow members might want to collaborate.  Contact any officer or board member with your suggestions.

Our next FF will be a surprise.  For 2006, we are waiting for your suggestions.  What fossil do you want to know more about?

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Our first Fossil Forum selection has come from one of our new student members, Jennifer Anné.  If you have a suggestion for a future Fossil Forum article, please e-mail me at:, or tell me at our next meeting.