Fossil Discoveries that Could Happen in the Future

We know that new fossil species and genera of plants, animals, and other life forms are being discovered nearly every day or week. New discoveries of already-known genera are also being made, even if they're controversial or debatable (I'm looking at you, Spinosaurus).

Here is a list that includes potential future discoveries that could happen one day, even if they won't happen in our lifetime.
The Top Ten
1 Confirmation of Nanotyrannus being a fully grown or larger morph of Dakotaraptor, rather than a small tyrannosaur.

Both of these two dinosaurs are rather controversial due to how fragmentary they are. So, a much more complete specimen of both supposed dinosaurs would be nice. My guess is that the so-called Nanotyrannus is not actually a tyrannosaur at all, but a larger form of Dakotaraptor.

2 Discovery of a new genus of Pachycephalosaur with manipulative feet/hands and extremely high intelligence.

This could prove the existence of sapient life that existed long before humans evolved.

3 Discovery of a basal ceratopsian from the late Jurassic period in North America.

I'm surprised that there are no fossils of primitive ceratopsians in North America, despite so many fossils being found in late Jurassic fossil sites throughout the continent. If there were a primitive ceratopsian of late Jurassic North America, it would probably resemble and be related to the also-basal Yinlong, a bipedal herbivore that lived in late Jurassic China.

4 Discovery of a Paleocene non-avian dinosaur or pterosaur which survived after the KPG extinction event (66 mya).

It's a shame that there are no known confirmed fossils of dinosaurs or pterosaurs that outlived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event around 66 million years ago, despite countless claims of supposed hadrosaurs, tyrannosaurs, etc., from Paleocene fossil sites.

I think that, if there were any non-avian dinosaurs and pterosaurs that could have potentially outlived the extinction event, it would be a type of adaptable troodontid dinosaur or small azhdarchid pterosaur that was able to burrow and/or live in more open areas that were not as susceptible to the extinction event as forests. However, they would sadly still go extinct due to competition from the larger mammals and birds that evolved later.

5 Discovery of a Columbian mammoth mummy
6 Discovery of a dwarf abelisaur on Hațeg Island.

Even though Hatzegopteryx would still be the top predator of Hațeg Island, it would be nice to know that there were predatory theropods living there (very much like the Dinosaur Planet episode "Pod's Travels"). Although these abelisaurs would be much smaller than their mainland counterparts due to insular dwarfism, just like their prey, such as Magyarosaurus.

7 Discovery of a complete Giganotosaurus skeleton
8 Discovery of mummified remains of a Tyrannosaurus.

This could solve the mystery of whether Tyrannosaurus was completely scaly or had a light amount of feathers.

9 Confirmation of ammonites living far beyond the Mesozoic
10 Discovery of a mummy of a late-surviving chalicothere.

I personally want this to happen in real life, since chalicotheres are my favorite extinct mammal group, with Hesperotherium being one of the last chalicotheres. Who knows? Maybe there could be a mummy of a Hesperotherium in Southeast Asia. Although I'm not sure if the DNA would be viable or not, if the DNA is viable, this genus could be cloned and the chalicotheres would return. I would be happy if this is the case.

The Contenders
11 Discovery of a complete skeleton of Spinosaurus
12 Resolution of the lifestyle of Spinosaurus.

It would be great if the lifestyle of Spinosaurus were fully determined, thus putting an end to the whole Spinosaurus debate on whether it hunted in the water like a gharial or waded in the water like a stork.

13 Discovery of a late-surviving basal tyrannosauroid in Asia or North America.

Ever since I saw Jurassic World Dominion, I've been fantasizing about a small and basal tyrannosaur that lived at or near the end of the Mesozoic. I think that, if there was a small and primitive tyrannosaur of Maastrichtian North America, it would be a duck-sized insectivore or carnivore, very much like the somewhat-inaccurate Moros reconstruction shown in Jurassic World Dominion, but it would be a separate genus from Moros regardless.

14 Discovery of feathers from a Therizinosaurus.

We know that Therizinosaurus likely had feathers, but it is not known what type of feathers it had, if it did have any. If a mummified fossil of the entire Therizinosaurus was found, this could settle the debate once and for all.

15 Discovery of an American mastodon mummy
16 Discovery of a fossilized Velociraptor skeleton with irrefutable evidence of feathers all over its body

This would possibly end the mass media of those horribly inaccurate JP-esque raptors being commonly depicted in stores, museums, etc, after people realize that Velociraptor looked nothing like how the Jurassic franchise had depicted.

17 Discovery of a North American spinosaurid
18 Discovery of a Smilodon mummy somewhere in the Americas
19 Discovery of viable DNA of a non-avian dinosaur or pterosaur

Sure, this may be highly unlikely, but anyone can dream! I really want real live non-avian dinosaurs, as well as pterosaurs, being brought back from extinction. As long as people clone them responsibly and these animals are properly cared for in captivity (and as long as they're happy and healthy).

20 Discovery of viable pre-Pleistocene animal DNA

I would love this to happen, even if it's unlikely, since I'd like to see entelodonts, chalicotheres, deinotheres, and the likes brought back from extinction, as long as people do it responsibly.

21 Discovery of a North American abelisaurid of the late Cretaceous
22 Discovery of late-surviving adapiform primates in North America
23 Discovery of viable dinosaur DNA
24 Discovery of definite late Cretaceous stegosaurs
25 Discovery of late-surviving chalicotheres in North America
8Load More
PSearch List