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New dinosaur bears Swiss researcher’s name

A visitor to the Aathal dinosaur museum looks at one of its 18 full-sized dinosaur specimens

A newly discovered dinosaur species has been named after the Swiss paleontologist Hans-Jakob Siber, the country’s most prolific dinosaur researcher. The new species’ skeleton is on view in a museum near Zurich for the first time.

This content was published on December 16, 2012 - 13:42 and agencies

The dinosaur, newly named “small Diplodocus of Siber“ or Kaatedocus siberi, is a member of the long-necked, plant-eating sauropod family. Other well-known sauropods include the brachiosaurus and the apatosaurus, once known as the brontosaurus.

With 14 perfectly preserved vertebrae, the new specimen’s neck is reportedly the most intact of its kind in the world and has brought international renown to the Aathal dinosaur museum in canton Zurich where it is now on display.

The dinosaur was first discovered by a Swiss team from the museum nearly 20 years ago in the US state of Wyoming. Only half of its bones had been found at the time and, Siber says, the museum decided to concentrate on displaying “more intact” skeletons. However, it recently became clear that the team had actually discovered something extremely rare – an entirely new dinosaur species.

The Swiss paleontologist Emanuel Tschopp confirmed the specimen  was one of a kind and subsequently named it after Siber.

Siber has led numerous teams on digs around the world and established Switzerland’s premier dinosaur museum, 20 years ago in an abandoned factory building in the village of Aathal in canton Zurich.

Today, Siber is the museum’s curator and an authority on many rare dinosaur species, including the stegosaurus, of which there are only five good skeletons in the world. Teams from the museum have uncovered two of those five stegosaurus specimens.

After the dinosaur which bears his name was assembled for the first time on Friday, Siber says he “just stood and stared”.

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