The Crazy News Guy

“Beeb, beeb!”, ‘Roadrunner’ dinosaur species discovered

In dinosaur, Eocursor, evolution, natural world, World News on June 13, 2007 at 7:21 pm

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3ft-long plant-eating dinosaur called Eocursor has been identified by paleontologists. Fossil remains of a single specimen of the dinosaur were discovered in South Africa in 1993, but have only recently been studied.

3ft-long plant-eating dinosaur stood on two legs, was about the size of a large dog and was built for speed. It was a primitive member of a large group of dinosaurs called the ornithischians and lived about 220 million years ago and lived in vast herds of up to 10,000.

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Working with scientists at the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town, and experts from Cambridge University in England, paleontologist Dr Butler compared Eocursor’s anatomy with that of ornithischians from all over the world.

The researchers produced a new evolutionary tree showing how primitive members of the family were related.

It suggested that they spread throughout the world later than was previously thought.

“By placing Eocursor in an evolutionary tree we can begin to understand when and why ornithiscian dinosaurs became so important,” said Dr Butler.

“It seems that primitive ornithiscians were scarce, and the group succeeded by taking advantage of the extinction of other plant-eating reptiles at the end of the Triassic about 200 million years ago.”

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