Big Find Unearthed in Seymour - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Big Find Unearthed in Seymour

Paleontologists from the Houston Museum of Natural History are set to unveil a major find. It's a prehistoric predator they dug up in Seymour.

Dr. Robert Bakker and his team discovered Wet Willy, a Dimetrodon Giganhomogenes, at the Craddock Ranch in mid June. He was unearthed when workers found bone while digging a drainage ditch. Since then, the team has been painstakingly removing the rock and soil from around Willy.

Baylor County has long been world-famous because of its fossils. Dr. Bakker said there is no where else in the world with as much fossil diversity as right here. Dimetrodons are fairly common in the Craddock bone bed, but Willy, who gets his name from famous paleontologist Samuel Williston, is the exception. It is a complete skeleton and in nearly perfect condition.

"Willy is the most beautiful fin-backed predator I've ever seen," said Dr. Bakker.

David Temple, Associate Curator of Paleontology at the HMNS, said there is something else unique about their work. While many have dug at the Craddock Ranch before them, they are the first team to be focused on the entire ecosystem and how animals relate to each other. And that could have a profound impact on how we understand our own future.

Willy and his contemporaries, said Temple, experienced one of the greatest mass extinctions known. "There wasn't one mass extinction event," he said. "But, it was several of them that occurred, not spaced out like they normally do, but back to back to back to back. So, what caused that?"

Having a better idea of what happened to Willy and other creatures that predate dinosaurs, Temple said, could give us an idea of what the future holds for man kind.

The team will unveil Willy to the world in the next few days. He sits covered by a tarp and partially encased in plaster molds. Willy is already getting coverage by the national scientific press. In the next few days, expect the eyes of the scientific world to be fixed on Texoma.

Tim Barnosky, Newschannel 6.

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