Researchers have unveiled a new species of dinosaur from the late Triassic period – a small, early relative of T.rex and Velociraptor.
The 2m-long dinosaur, named Tawa hallae, was found in a “bone bed” on the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, US.
The discovery of this early theropod, reported in the journal Science, sheds light on early dinosaur evolution. The team says the find also highlights how dinosaurs dispersed across what was then the “supercontinent” Pangaea.
Sterling Nesbitt, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin in the US, led a team from a number of US research institutes that studied the fossilised dinosaur bones.
Dr Nesbitt told BBC News that the bone bed was first excavated in 2004, but his team made a larger excavation in 2006, discovering articulated dinosaur skeletons that were between 90% and 95% complete.
These remarkable specimens enabled the researchers to confirm, without doubt, that Tawa was a new type of dinosaur…
The finding provides strong evidence for an existing hypothesis that dinosaurs originated in what is now South America, and very soon diverged into three major lines…
This was at the time of the supercontinent Pangaea, when “you could walk from the North to the South Pole,” said Dr Nesbitt.
Absolutely delightful. I was involved with a small bit of reconstruction work at Ghost Ranch before I retired – a little while before that first excavation. Everything was marked out for the dig; but, they hadn’t started, yet.
Yes, of course, I poked around a bit. Just exercising my curiosity bone.
Too bad, Georgia O’Keeffe isn’t alive to witness the discovery at her old home and rambling grounds.