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Texas college students excavating prehistoric fossils

Less than 5 miles from the futuristic Dallas Cowboys football stadium, University of Texas at Arlington students are digging up fossils of prehistoric turtles, sharks, giant crocodiles and duck-billed dinosaurs that were bigger than trucks.

The fossils are from about 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. During that time, north Arlington looked more like Galveston or the Mississippi coastline with giant reptiles roaming about, said Derek Main, a UT-Arlington graduate student who is heading the project.

"These animals we are finding can only be found in North Texas," Main said. "They are truly Texas dinosaurs."

Since last year, Main and his students and volunteers from the Dallas Paleontological Society have dug up numerous fossils, including bones of what could be two new dinosaur species and a new crocodile species, he said.

The well-preserved fossil field is located in far north Arlington on 2,000 acres of private, undeveloped land.

Two UT-Arlington students, Phil Kirchhoff and Bill Walker, and local fossil collector Art Sahlstein discovered the fossil site in 2003 and brought the finds to Main, who teaches about dinosaurs.

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