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Revueltosaurus skeleton unearthed at Petrified Forest upsets dinosaur tale

ically widespread by the end of the Triassic, though the theropods at this time also were small and rare," Irmis said. "What we found suggests that ornithischian dinosaurs did not diversify and get large until the beginning of the Jurassic."

"People have argued that there is a great diversity of dinosaurs in the Late Triassic, and this shows that they are not as diverse as many thought," Parker said. "Diversity is only found among the ancestors of the sauropods and theropods. Exactly how diverse were these other groups? That's something we also want to test."

Revueltosaurus is a relatively recent discovery, having been named only in 1989 from teeth found in Revuelto Creek, New Mexico, by Adrian Hunt. Kevin Padian, professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley, found and identified Revueltosaurus teeth from Petrified Forest National Park in 1990, though an earlier UC Berkeley paleontologist, Charles Camp, had found but not identified teeth from these creatures in the early 1930s. Unknowingly, Hunt, Padian and Camp had also found other bones of Revueltosaurus, but because these remains were not found with the teeth, the association could not be made.

The newly discovered full skeleton of a Revueltosaurus makes it clear that the teeth are not of a plant-eating dinosaur, but of a herbivorous or perhaps omnivorous crocodilian ancestor living a mostly terrestrial life in the uplands of the Late Triassic. It may have been one source of meat for the developing theropods around the world.

"This find is a great thing for the crocodilian record, too. Here's this totally unrecognized group of possibly herbivorous crocodilians," Parker said. "The convergent evolution of the teeth is what makes them look like herbivorous dinosaurs. That's the only thing similar in the entire skeleton. There are no other dinosaur characters in the entire animal."

Parker picked up the first fossils in March of 2004 at a promising outcrop in an area of the p
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Source:University of California - Berkeley


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