Environmentalists have found a baby dinosaur hatching from a bowling ball-size egg they found in New York’s Catskill Mountains.
And even though the couple are professional activists dedicated to helping endangered animal species of all kinds, they were totally un prepared for what to do when a baby triceratops emerged from its gigantic greenish blue shell, honked pitifully for its mother and then lumbered off into thick underbrush without so much as sniffing at their outstretched hands.
Though only an infant, the baby triceratops could be full-grown within two years!
“You don’t learn about dinosaurs in grad school,” says Jenks, 28, of Rochester, NY. “Not to mention the fact that we were in shock I kept whispering to Karl, “Is this a dream? Is this real?”
“All he could say was, “Good Lord – look at it. It’s a triceratops.”
An all out hunt for the creature that was launched after the couple returned to civilization and reported what they had seen has yielded nothing more than footprints, shell fragments and a pile of dirt saturated with embryonic fluid that spilled from the egg when the baby triceratops hatched.
And while the search for the creature continues, a key question facing scientists is whether the egg belongs to a big female that lives 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs ruled their earth – or was laid more recently by a mother that is still alive.
Judging from Jenks’ and Mario’s descriptions, the baby dinosaur is 10 to 12 inches long from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail.
Experts, though, are “guesstimating” that within one year it could weigh in at anywhere from 800 to 2,000 pounds.
And even though triceratops are plant eaters, Marlo points out the baby should be considered dangerous “because there’s always a chance something that big could hit you with its tail or stop on you by accident.”
Jenks recalls being paralyzed with fright when she and Marlo, also of Rochester, stumbled out on the unhatched egg while hiking in the Catskills, last weekend.
“Something that big is so unexpected that you stop dead in your tracks and gawk,” she says. “And then when you start looking at it and touching it, you really get the willies.
“You’re wondering, “Wat in the world could have laid such a thing?’ And you start looking over your shoulder to make sure the mother isn’t creeping up behind you.”
After snapping a few pictures with their iPhones, the couple heard one loud “crack” – and then another.
“It was hatching,” says Marlo. “And it hatched fast. When it was completely out of the egg, it honked loud – like a goose on steroids. We instinctively held out our hands, just like you would to show a puppy. It’s O.K. boy. Come here. We won’t hurt you.”
“But the baby wasn’t interested in us. I’m pretty sure it was looking for its mother.”
Jenks says the baby dinosaur slipped and fell twice, like a newborn calf trying to “find its leg.”
Then it took off through mountain brush, leaving uprooted bushes and small trees in its wake.
Neither the couple nor other university experts brought in to investigate will pinpoint the exact location where the egg and baby were found.
“If we do that, you’ll have hundreds of reporters and photographers out there and at least the many curiosity seekers, not mention hunters who’ll want to it and trappers who’ll want to eat it,” says Marlo.
“All I can tell you is that well northwest of New York City, the Catskill Park. If anybody happens to see the triceratops, urge you to notify the police. Do try to catch it, and don’t try to get closer look.
“When it ran away from us it was a frightened hatchling looking at the world for the first time. But it’s going to grow fast. And the first time it sees a human, it might be so timid, and it may be travelling with its mother and maybe even father as well.
“The last thing you want is to get in a squeeze play with dinosaurs. Any way you shake, you’ll lose.”