Toronto, ON (PRWEB) September 4, 2008
Leonardo was found in Montana almost fully intact, with 90 per cent of his body covered in skin. We even know what he ate for his last meal. But what makes this discovery so impressive? "Leonardo" is a 77 million year-old dinosaur - and what he reveals about his life and death is undeniably one of the most captivating cold cases of all time. Discovery Channel uncovers what is unquestionably one of the most unexpected and important dinosaur discoveries of all time in a new one-hour high-definition special, Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy. Discovery Channel Canada and Discovery Channel U.S. will present this groundbreaking broadcast event in a North American simulcast, Sun., Sept. 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Originally commissioned by Discovery Channel Canada, members of The Television Critics Association (TCA) got a sneak peak at this highly-anticipated Canadian-produced documentary from MidCanada Entertainment and Myth Merchant Films when Discovery Channel U.S. unveiled their fall programming highlights during the TCA's annual summer press tour in Beverly Hills, CA.
"This fall, we'll unveil the Holy Grail of paleontology in a one-hour event documentary" says Ken MacDonald, Vice President of Programming for Discovery Channel Canada. "The story of the forensic investigation of a dinosaur body - the fully intact Dinosaur Mummy - is nothing short of jaw-dropping."
Discovered in 2000 by a team of amateur paleontologists exploring Malta, Montana, Leonardo - named for graffiti found near his burial site - is the first dinosaur mummy ever found with intact digestive tract contents. With this once-in-a-lifetime finding, scientists now have more than just bones to fully reconstruct how dinosaurs looked and lived. From the cause of death to Leonardo's last meal, scientific tests provide far more detail than the team of scientists ever expected. Skin impressions and actual fossilized samples of the digested food still inside the viscera, plus skin and joints, allow the team to create the first reconstruction of a giant dinosaur, accurate both inside and out.
Leonardo is a young Brachylophosaurus, a four-legged, plant-eating, duck-billed dinosaur, the very first juvenile of the species discovered with extensive skin. He was approximately three to four years old when he died and would have been over six metres long, weighing about 900 kilograms.
From high-tech testing of Leonardo's remains, scientists have positively identified what a plant-eating dinosaur ate - something that has never been done before. Leonardo's last meal consisted largely of leaves which included ferns, magnolias and conifers. Additional analysis has confirmed at least 40 different types of prehistoric plant pollen preserved in his stomach. Since most dinosaurs were herbivores, this find is an incredibly important step in learning more about the creatures' lives on the planet.
Another finding that was only possible due to Leonardo's intact remains is the strong evidence for a crop. Modern plant-eating birds have crops to aid in the digestion process, but there was no evidence of the possibility that dinosaurs may have also had crops until Leonardo was unearthed. This startling discovery has led to new theories of how these creatures lived.
Leonardo will be on display at The Houston Museum of Natural Science in a specially created exhibit - Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation - beginning September 19, 2008.
Secrets Of The Dinosaur Mummy is directed and written by Michael Jorgensen and produced for Discovery Channel by MidCanada Entertainment and Myth Merchant Films. Wayne Sheldon is executive producer and Kevin Dunn is producer for MidCanada Entertainment. Carrie Gour is executive producer and Michael Jorgensen is producer for Myth Merchant films.
Bold and leading edge, while informing and entertaining, Discovery Channel is Canada's leading source for factual programming, as it puts a new spin on exploring adventure, science and technology. This award-winning channel covers the scientific beat, from animals to the animalistic side of humanity, from the sea to space, and the latest in innovation. TV Trends and Quality (TVQ) Survey consistently ranks Discovery Channel Canada first among all English-language Canadian specialty networks for overall quality of programming. Discovery Channel is one of the first Canadian specialty channels to offer programs in HDTV and its production house, Exploration Production Inc. (EPI), continues to be internationally recognized as a producer of cutting-edge programming with distribution to more than 150 countries. The channel's Web site may be found at DiscoveryChannel.ca.
For more information:
Jodi Cook, Discovery Channel - 416.332.4426 or jcook @ discovery.ca
Kevin Dunn, Producer, Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy - 905-304-9512
Michael Jorgensen, Producer/Director, Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy - 780-974-9889.
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