Who remembers "Willo's Heart"?
How many of you remember the Willo fossil? It’s been almost 20 years since the first article was published. A 66 million year old Thescelosaurus discovered in South Dakota in 1993 by Michael Hammer and his son Jeff in the Hell Creek formation. This is one of the most important fossil discoveries of our time according to the researchers at North Carolina. One of the only specimens to date showcasing preserved organs. In this case... THE HEART!!!! What is most significant about this fossil is that it proved that “Willo” was warm blooded. :)
Unfortunately, after later study Michael Stoskopf and Mary Schweitzer throws new support to the contentions of Rowe and other paleontologists. After reexamining the fossil by way of high-resolution CT scans, X-rays and close-up study of the purported soft tissues, the team could not find any good evidence of Willo's heart being preserved. Instead, the organ is really a concretion formed when sand was washed inside the body and became cemented into place.
Although Willo's heart was not preserved, Cleland and co-authors found several small scraps of "cell-like material." These may have come from plant debris washed into the skeleton, or they might have come from the dinosaur itself. Perhaps, the scientists hypothesize, the decaying body of the dinosaur triggered the beginning of concretion formation and some of the sand formed around the rotting tissues before they had a chance to fully decay. Frustratingly, there is not yet a way to detect the origin of these scraps, but new technologies may eventually provide means to do so. After all, the improvements in technology since 2000 allowed paleontologists to thoroughly reexamine Willo to a deeper degree of detail.