Navigation Links
America's smallest dinosaur uncovered
Date:9/23/2008

An unusual breed of dinosaur that was the size of a chicken, ran on two legs and scoured the ancient forest floor for termites is the smallest dinosaur species found in North America, according to a University of Calgary researcher who analyzed bones found during the excavation of an ancient bone bed near Red Deer, Alberta.

"These are bizarre animals. They have long and slender legs, stumpy arms with huge claws and tweezer-like jaws. They look like an animal created by Dr. Seuss," said Nick Longrich, a paleontology research associate in the Department of Biological Sciences. "This appears to be the smallest dinosaur yet discovered in North America."

Called Albertonykus borealis, the slender bird-like creature is a new member of the family Alvarezsauridae and is one of only a few such fossils found outside of South America and Asia. In a paper published in the current issue of the journal Cretaceous Research, Longrich and University of Alberta paleontologist Philip Currie describe the specimen and explain how it it likely specialized in consuming termites by using its small but powerful forelimbs to tear into logs.

"Proportionately, the forelimbs are shorter than in a Tyrannosaurus but they are powerfully-built, so they seem to have served a purpose," Longrich said. "They are built for digging but too short to burrow, so we think they may have been used to rip open log in search of insects."

Longrich studied 70 million-year-old bones that were collected on a dig led by Currie at Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park in 2002 where the remains of more than 20 Albertosaurus sarcophagus individuals were found. Albertosaurs are a type of tyrannosaur. The bones were placed in storage at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and Longrich came across them while trying to compare Albertosaurus claws to another dinosaur species.

"This is the oldest and most complete dinosaur of its kind known from North America and it provides evidence that these dinosaurs migrated to Asia through North America," he said.

Longrich, who specializes in studying dinosaur-era ancestors of birds, completed his PhD at the University of Calgary under the supervision of zoology professor Anthony Russell. In September 2006 Longrich argued that that earliest known ancestor of birds, a feathered creature called Archaeopteryx, likely flew with wings on all four limbs after examining fossils originally collected in Germany in 1861.

"You can really find amazing things if you just keep looking at fossils we already have sitting in museum collections," he said. "The number of dinosaur discoveries is actually accelerating because we just keep digging up more material to work with."


'/>"/>

Contact: Grady Semmens
gsemmens@ucalgary.ca
403-220-7722
University of Calgary
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. CU-Boulder team discovers first ancient manioc fields in Americas
2. Ancient sunflower fuels debate about agriculture in the Americas
3. Worlds smallest snake found in Barbados
4. New dinosaur species found in Montana
5. Emory paleontologist reports discovery of carnivorous dinosaur tracks in Australia
6. Dinosaur from Sahara ate like a mesozoic cow
7. Massive dinosaur discovered in Antarctica sheds light on life, distribution of sauropodomorphs
8. Unusual fish-eating dinosaur had crocodile-like skull
9. Seismic images show dinosaur-killing meteor made bigger splash
10. New dinosaur from Mexico offers insights into ancient life on West America
11. Quantum weirdness, parallel worlds, dinosaur poop, and the ultimate fate of the universe...
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/21/2017)... Der weltweite Biobanking-Sektor wird bis ... Gespräch mit mehr als 50 Vertretern aus verschiedenen Branchen wurde ... um diese Prognose zu realisieren. ... Zu den Schwierigkeiten ... Mittel für die Biobank, die Implementierung Zeit sparender Technologien, ...
(Date:2/14/2017)... , Feb. 14, 2017  Wake Forest Baptist Medical ... its new chief executive officer (CEO). Freischlag joins the ... John D. McConnell , M.D., who last year announced ... the Medical Center, after leading it since 2008.   ... scope of Wake Forest Baptist,s academic health system, which ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... 2017 Former 9/11 Commission border counsel and ... Janice Kephart of Identity Strategy Partners, LLP, today ... "Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist ... "As President Trump,s ,Travel Ban, Executive Order gains ... banned the travel ban, it is important that our ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017 Cousins Properties (NYSE: ... the world,s leading biotechnology companies, has signed a 10-year, approximately ... Class A office asset located in the Westshore submarket of ... are thrilled that Amgen has chosen Corporate Center for their ... Larry Gellerstedt , president and chief executive officer of Cousins ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... ROCKVILLE, Md. , March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... $108.5 billion for 2016, according to a new ... patients, medical lab testing is performed to evaluate ... determine individual therapy, among other reasons.  The healthcare ... Services Market , provides an overview of ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... ... , ... PMG Research is pleased to announce its participation in ... Forum in Boston on April 3-4, 2017. The CTC conference focuses on how the ... bring them closer to the patient. Clinical Trial Collaborations also will present an inaugural ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading global ... solutions, today announced that it is now offering a ... consumers who want to have their DarioHealth products reimbursed ... alliance agreements with partners across the U.S. who will ... approved, will supply and bill the customer,s insurance for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: