Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dinosaur bone found where it doesn't belong

Scientists uncovered a mysterious hip bone belonging to an ancestor of the T-rex in Australia. Until now, it was thought T-rex only lived in the Northern Hemisphere covering the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. This discovery, as per usual, boggles their minds..

This is discovery is hardly new, however. Paleontologist Thomas Rich discovered this hip bone along with hundreds of other fossils from a variety of species in Dinosaur Cove, in south east Australia, back in 1989. It wasn't until last year that he finally collaberated with other paleontologists to determine if any of the fossils could be identified.  But the credit goes to Dr. Roger Benson of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge, who identified the find, "The bone is unambiguously identifiable as a tyrannosaur because these dinosaurs have very distinctive hip bones," he said.

The hip bone, identified as belonging to an ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, is a newly identified dinosaur and therefore not much is known about it. It has been named "NMV P186069" and shares basic characteristics with the northern ancestors of T-Rex that lived 110 million years ago, about 40 million years before the T-Rex. As far as scientist can tell, this new dinosaur was much smaller than the T-Rex, about 175 pounds and 10 feet long and similar in height to a human as opposed to the T-Rex's 8,000 pounds and 39 feet. The hip bone itself measures about a foot, compared with 53 inches for that of a Tyrannosaurus.

The discovery raises questions about how and why these dinosaurs became dominant predators above the equator, and why they just dwindled away below it. "We really don't have much of a clue as to what Australian dinosaurs were like at the time," said tyrannosaur expert Thomas R. Holtz Jr., a paleontologist at the University of Maryland.

No comments:

Post a Comment