MEET THE JEWISH DI­NOSAUR

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SI­MON ROCKER

MANY MAY be happy to be memo­ri­alised on a park bench plaque or a piece of syn­a­gogue cur­tain but Ce­cile and Ro­man Krieg­stein of Palm Beach, Florida en­joy a more ex­otic trib­ute.

Their name has been given to a newly dis­cov­ered species of di­nosaur.

The Uni­ver­sity of Chicago be­stowed the hon­our af­ter be­ing pre­sented with the fos­sil by their son Henry, an eye sur­geon and keen nat­u­ral his­to­rian, who bought the re­mains from a dealer. His par­ents, both in their 80s and sup­port­ers of Yad Vashem, came from Poland and met in Ger­many af­ter the war.

“I wanted to find a way to let their name live on in im­mor­tal­ity,” Dr Krieg­stein told the Chicago Tri­bune. “The fos­sil of this di­nosaur has sur­vived for 125 mil­lion years. My par­ents came close to not sur­viv­ing. This name sym­bol­i­cally rep­re­sents that they have sur­vived de­spite great odds.”

Rap­torex Krieg­steini was a smaller an­ces­tor of the Tyran­nosaurus Rex that struck ter­ror into lesser crea­tures 60 mil­lion years later. But at eight-foot long, it was still not some­thing you would want to find in your back­yard.

Paul Sereno, a palaeon­tol­o­gist from the uni­ver­sity, said: “The spec­i­men was found in North­ern China, taken out of the coun­try and sold on the open mar­ket. It pro­vides key in­for­ma­tion on how the big­gest and per­haps among the best preda­tors evolved.”

Rap­torex was a “punk-size” pre­cur- sor of the T-Rex, he ex­plained, which was “ba­si­cally our body­weight. And that’s pretty stag­ger­ing, be­cause there is no other ex­am­ple that I can think of where an an­i­mal has been so finely de­signed at about a hun­dredth the size that it would even­tu­ally be­come”.

When sci­en­tists have fin­ished study­ing the fos­sil, it will go to a col­lec­tion in In­ner Mon­go­lia near where it was dug up. But as a sou­venir, Dr Krieg­stein has taken a life-size cast of the tyran­nosaur to keep in his Mas­sachusetts home.

Rap­torex Krieg­steini

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