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|Posted: Fri May 06, 2005 1:09 am Post subject: New evolutionary dinosaur link found in Utah
|In the time before written time ...
May 05, 2005
Vegan leaning Dinosaur Found In Utah
Paleontologists in Utah announced yesterday that they had discovered a new species of dinosaurs. The new species, named Falcarius utahensis, uncovered two years ago at a dig site near the town of Green River is about 13 feet long and 41/2 feet tall, and was a primitive member of the therizinosaur group of feathered dinosaurs reports New York Times . The Fosssils suggest that the dinosaur was becoming more vegetarian, moving away from its meat-eating ancestors.
Dr. James I. Kirkland, a paleontologist with the Utah Geological Survey, said , "the beginnings of features we associate with plant-eating dinosaurs." The teeth were not the sharp, bladelike serrated teeth of the typical predator, but smaller and adapted for shredding leaves. "I doubt that this animal could have cut a steak," he said.
All plant-eating dinosaurs were ultimately descended from a meat-eater, and switchovers to plant-eating occurred several times reports Washington Post The newly discovered species, which lived 125 million years ago, could help scientists understand details of how the changeovers took place
Dr. Scott D. Sampson, chief curator of the Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah, said the new fossils were "amazing documentation of a major dietary shift" and promised to "tell us how this shift happened."
Utah state paleontologist James Kirkland describes the creature in Thursday's issue of the British journal Nature with Lindsay Zanno and Scott Sampson of the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.
Fossils and reconstructed models of Falcarius utahensis will be on display at the Utah Museum of Natural History next month