New Dinosaur Species Discovered in Utah
Scientists discovered the 125 million-year-old fossils of two-legged bird-like dinosaurs in Utah.
The dinosaurs had features of two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs called maniraptorans. Scientists believe that birds evolved from these creatures.
The bones are being called a missing link between carnivorous dinosaurs and plant eating dinosaurs. They are described as looking similar to a velociraptor with features of an herbivore.
“We know that the first dinosaur was a small-bodied, lightly built, fleet-footed predator. Early on, two major groups of dinosaurs shifted to plant-eating, but we have virtually no record of those transitions,” said Scott Sampson, a researcher from the Utah Natural History Museum.
Reuters tells a bit about the fossils:
The fossils also have leaf-shaped teeth, stubby legs and the expansive bellies of plant-eaters, the researchers reported in this week’s issue of the journal Nature. The new species is named Falcarius utahensis, meaning “sickle-maker from Utah”.
“Falcarius is literally a missing link,” Scott Sampson, chief curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History, told a news conference. “Falcarius is kind of half-raptor and half herbivore. This transition is triggered by a shift in diet.” It appeared at around the time that tasty, nutritious, flowering plants appeared on earth, he said.
The new species is called Falcarius utahensis, which means “sickle-maker from Utah”. They were covered with “hairlike” feathers, and were 13 feet long and stood at 4.5 feet tall, walking on two legs.