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Research unearths new dinosaur species
Date:2/28/2013

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Feb. 28, 2013) A South Dakota School of Mines & Technology assistant professor and his team have discovered a new species of herbivorous dinosaur and published the first fossil evidence of prehistoric crocodyliforms feeding on small dinosaurs.

Research by Clint Boyd, Ph.D., provides the first definitive evidence that plant-eating baby ornithopod dinosaurs were a food of choice for the crocodyliform, a now extinct relative of the crocodile family. While conducting their research, the team also discovered that this dinosaur prey was a previously unrecognized small ornithopod dinosaur species, which has yet to be named.

The evidence found in what is now known as the Grand Staircase Escalante-National Monument in southern Utah dates back to the late Cretaceous period, toward the end of the age of dinosaurs, and was published Feb. 27 in the academic journal PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science ONE). The complete research findings of Boyd and Stephanie K. Drumheller, of the University of Iowa and the University of Tennessee, and Terry A. Gates, of North Carolina State University and the Natural History Museum of Utah, can be accessed at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057605.

A large number of mostly tiny bits of dinosaur bones were recovered in groups at four locations within the Utah park which paleontologists and geologists know as the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Kaiparowits Formation leading paleontologists to believe that crocodyliforms had fed on baby dinosaurs 1-2 meters in total length.

Evidence shows bite marks on bone joints, as well as breakthrough proof of a crocodyliform tooth still embedded in a dinosaur femur.

The findings are significant because historically dinosaurs have been depicted as the dominant species. "The traditional ideas you see in popular literature are that when little
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Contact: Fran LeFort
Fran.LeFort@sdsmt.edu
605-394-6082
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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