News / Science & Technology

New Dinosaur Species Was Crocodile Snack

Clint Boyd, Ph.D., of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, points to a crocodyliform tooth embedded in the femur of a young dinosaur. (South Dakota School of Mines & Technology)
Clint Boyd, Ph.D., of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, points to a crocodyliform tooth embedded in the femur of a young dinosaur. (South Dakota School of Mines & Technology)
TEXT SIZE - +
Faith Lapidus
Scientists in Utah have uncovered evidence of a new species of plant-eating dinosaur that used to be a popular snack for prehistoric crocodiles.

Clint Boyd, of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, discovered evidence of the new species in a collection of small bits of fossil bones found in the western state.

While examining the tiny bones for skull fragments with teeth in them, he found a bone with what looked like enamel in it, only it wasn't a piece of a skull; it was the end of a femur.

“A thigh bone, which actually has a crocodile tooth stuck in it and broken off," Boyd says. "And then, as we started looking on the other bones, we started finding marks that are known to be diagnostic for crocodilian feeding traits.”

Boyd and his team realized they had evidence that these ancient reptiles, known as crocodyliforms, attacked their prey in a manner very much like modern crocodiles.

They determined that what the crocodyliforms were eating was a previously-unrecognized small bipedal dinosaur species. The fossil bones belonged to baby dinosaurs who were 1 to 2-meters long.

Boyd says the finding shows that the popular image of dinosaurs as the dominant species needs to be revised.

“Little baby dinosaurs, they are normally having to worry about the theropod dinosaurs, velociraptors, T. rex, things like that," Boyd says. "So this kind of adds a new dimension to going and getting water. You also had your dominant riverine carnivores, the crocodilians, attacking these herbivores as well, so they kind of had it coming from all sides.”

Based on the teeth marks on the fossils, and the fact that there are many bone fragments, the paleontologists believe the crocodilians were not much bigger than their prey.

The newly identified dinosaur species has not yet been named.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John
March 02, 2013 4:49 PM
As crocodiles have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, claims that they need to be protected are unnecessary folly. When the body of the last man rolls, rotting, down the river, there'll be a crocodile there to snap up the tasty morsel. In the meantime, we're in charge, and there's no reason we should stand any nonsense. All crocodiles should be shot on sight, as they were in the good old days!!


by: John Ochsner
March 02, 2013 1:11 PM
Of course the fossils are millions of years old. To deny this is saying the earth is flat. The fossil record is far from complete, but still is a fasinating look at a time we can barly imagine.


by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Jiyugaoka, JPN
March 01, 2013 6:18 PM
It is amazing we can understand how old spices like dinosaurs were living on the Earth.
But, that is just for interest of scientists and not to improve our life on the Earth. That is not a term of science, but it is just history.


by: Babu G. Ranganathan
March 01, 2013 11:51 AM
NOT MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD! Evolutionary dating methods are not infallible and far from accurate. Please read my popular Internet article, ARE FOSSILS REALLY MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD? Check out some of my Internet articles and sites: NATURAL LIMITS OF EVOLUTION, WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS (2nd Edition), NO HALF-EVOLVED DINOSAURS, DOES GOD PARTICLE EXPLAIN UNIVERSE'S ORIGIN? THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION Author of the popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid