WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Roughly 80 million years ago in the shallow inland sea that once split North America into eastern and western land masses, a fearsome 33-foot-long (10-meter-long) marine reptile with powerful jaws and tremendous bite-force was one of the apex predators.
A type of seagoing lizard called a mosasaur that ruled the oceans at the same time dinosaurs dominated the land, it has now been given a name meaning “Jaws of Death.”
A new analysis published on Wednesday of fossils of the creature unearthed in 1975 has determined that it deserves to be recognized as a new genus of mosasaur based on skeletal traits including a unique combination of features in the tooth-bearing bones and the shape of an important bone in the jaw joint.
Its remains were discovered near Cedaredge, Colorado.
This Cretaceous Period creature previously had been classified as the species Prognathodon stadtmani. Because
Paleontologists have unearthed a new species of burrowing dinosaur that once walked on two legs some 125 million years ago in modern-day China, reports Jon Haworth for ABC News. A new paper describing the species, published this month in the journal PeerJ, argues it is the most primitive ornithopod—the family of dinosaurs that includes bipedal “duck-billed” species such as Iguanodon—ever found.
Found in northeastern China’s Liaoning Province, researchers named the dinosaur Changmiania liaoningensis after the serene postures of the two almost perfectly preserved skeletons that underpin the discovery—changmian means “eternal sleep” in Chinese. The digging dino’s near-immaculate fossilization may have been the result of an unpleasant demise. Some researchers suggest a volcanic eruption likely trapped the nearly four-foot-long Changmiania underground where it may have suffocated or starved to death.
“These animals were quickly covered by fine sediment while they were still alive or just after their death,” says
The fossils date back an estimated 125 million years ago.
September 21, 2020, 9:09 AM
• 5 min read
Paleontologists in China have discovered a brand new species of burrowing dinosaur that dates back an estimated 125 million years ago.
The newly found dinosaur species was discovered in the Lujiatun Beds, located in northeast China in the Liaoning Province, in the oldest layers of the famous Yixian Formation which has produced several hundred preserved dinosaur skeletons over the past 20 years.
The fossils of the Changmiania liaoningensis were found perfectly intact and uninterrupted, suggesting to scientists that the animals were trapped by a volcanic eruption while they rested at the bottom of their burrows.
“The Lujiatun Beds would have been a kind of Cretaceous ‘Pompeii’,” said the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in an article announcing the discovery.