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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More