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)
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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid