New dinosaur species is a missing link
April 12th, 2011
07:15 PM ET

New dinosaur species is a missing link

It's fitting that a place called Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, would yield the discovery of a scary-looking creature. But it's not a ghost - it's a dinosaur.

This dog-sized, ferocious-looking critter is called Daemonosaurus chauliodus, which means something along the lines of  “buck-toothed evil lizard,” says Hans-Dieter Sues, lead author of the published research describing this dinosaur, and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

The illustration above compares the head and neck with a quarter. You can see that it has a short snout and enormous front teeth.

Scientists found the skull and neck of this previously unrecognized dinosaur, and described it in a study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

This dinosaur provides a link between what paleontologists consider "early" and "later" dinosaurs. There's a gap in the fossil record between the oldest known dinosaurs, which walked or ran on their hind legs about 230 million years ago in Argentina and Brazil, and other predatory dinosaurs that lived much later. Daemonosaurus chauliodus helps fill in a blank in dinosaur history.

This newly discovered species lived about 205 million years ago, and probably preyed on other dinosaurs and other small animals, Sues said. At that time, what is now the American Southwest was located close to the equator, so it was warm and monsoon-like with heavy seasonal precipitation. This dinosaur was probably active during the day, although its large eyes suggest it could have seen at night as well.

How did it go extinct? It may have fallen victim to an extinction event that occurred about 200 million years ago. As the continents were separating, there was a large zone of volcanic activity. Enormous quantities of lava was released, doing "horrible things to the atmosphere." Most dinosaurs made it through (that is, until an asteroid struck around 65 million years ago), but perhaps not this one.

"It just shows that even here in the United States, there are still many new dinosaurs to be found," Sues said. "People always think we have to go to some remote places, but, right here in northern New Mexico, we can still find new dinosaurs."

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Filed under: Animals • Dinosaurs
soundoff (565 Responses)
  1. WindyCityMagpie

    The only missing link that does not exist is god.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • bsitz

      I think you just slapped your own religion!

      April 13, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. cpc65

    Now I know what my neighbor's little yappy dogs evolved from.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • blue waffle

      pieces of S#it?

      April 13, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. luke

    My point is this... If you believe Christianity is some made up story and nothing else, why are you so concerned with disproving it. Why is it that Christianity is always under attack? You become so upset when someone makes a comment about Christianity. Why not ignore it and read what you want? Because there is something more to it. Again this is one man's opinion. I do not know you but I wish you well.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Sohei

      This article doesn't mention any religion at any time. As for religious views, there are many religions way older than judeo-christianity. There are also more populous religions around the planet right now with way different creation beliefs.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark Smith

      “...why don’t you just ignore Christianity, instead of trying to disprove it?” Please pardon my paraphrasing, Luke. I hope I’ve captured your point, though. One quick answer from my own experience is that my children's’ high school biology teacher is afraid to teach or even mention evolution because she gets complaints from parents and her job is threatened. This is in a public high school in Florida. My kids _love_ archeology, and missing the two-week section on evolution because the teacher was afraid to teach it was a real setback. What are they to do?

      April 13, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Sohei

      @ Mark... Agree, it's sad when teachers aren't allowed to teach. Not much different than the dark ages when all knowledge that "may" have disagreed with the church's teachings was abolished and punished by death. We have to give our children a choice and a glimpse of all the information that is out there. Then they can choose their own path.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Necifix

      Because it's dangerous for people in the world, mostly Americans and the Middle East, to believe in an imaginary friend. I won't get into it, but, I can assure you, several tens of millions have been killed in the name of religion. It simply should not exist.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      @sohei: actually, for better and for worse, there is no world religion with more adherents than Christianity.

      April 13, 2011 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
    • InUrBlackHole

      @Mark – My suggestion is that you as the parent teach your children whatever you believe is right for them to know. Don't rely on public education (paid for or not) to provide your children with what you deem as necessary education. It's ultimately your job as a parent to teach your kid. If you don't have the time because of work or other commitments, hire a tutor to do it for you (aka a teacher that can be controlled by you on what to teach).

      April 13, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Kuoldan

      Mr. Luke, thumb up for you, buddy! I like how you make your reply. I remember one of the guys here in the States trying to criticize me for having my bible in hand. I then asked him why he targeted the bible instead of other things I had. He responded and said, "because the bible is sensitive." I giggled and replied with joy, I am happy that there is sensitivity-power and truth in the bible. Anyhow, there will be a day when the truth will prevail.

      April 13, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      Why, Luke, you have it backwards. Christianity isn't always under attack, Christianity is always on the attack and the rest of us are tired of you trying to impose your beliefs on us. We don't care what you believe in your own homes and lives, but we do care when you try to pass laws that prohibit our children from being taught about science in school, or when you try to pass laws to prohibit us from making informed medical choices about our own bodies, or when you try to pass laws telling gay couples that they have no right to love each other. If you believed those things, but didn't try to impose them on us through the force of our secular government, then we wouldn't care. But you do try to impose your beliefs on our lives, so it's quite natural that we push back against that. This article is a perfect case in point. This is not an attack on Christianity, it's a science article about an interesting development in a field that rational people understand to be true, but you guys just couldn't leave it alone. You had to fill the comments with your pro-religious nonsense. So don't complain about how we're attacking you when you stick your religion into the secular aspects of our lives. Next time you see an article about something that happened over 6,000 years ago, just pass it by and no one will attack you for it.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Themagicrat

      Rock on Ray. I basically said the same thing in reply to one of his other posts.

      April 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark Smith

    "Missing link" just seems like pandering to the jury’s-still-out-on-evolution crowd. I wish you’d replace it with the more descriptive “transitional.” And "New dinosaur,” isn’t that an oxymoron?

    April 13, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Sohei

      New as in previously unknown?

      April 13, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark Smith

      Sohei. Yes, I know. I was just having a little fun 🙂

      April 13, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. cpc65

    Quick! Clone these little critters and sell them as pets! "I thought you said your dinosaur doesn't bite?", "Zhat ist not mine dinosaur!"

    April 13, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Sohei

      I'll buy one, probably better than my yip-yip dog!

      April 13, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. Yankee fan03

    LOL its still missing and this illustration is just a drawing it doesnt mean it exist beside how the heck the scientist know its color and the hair color? I can just draw a dinosaur in my own version and say that this is a missing link...

    Want to know God is real? go to the cemetary, the bible says the wages of sins is death..Creation is speaking so loud that there is a creation just think of your eyes how intricately design..Guys dont think low of yourself you guys didnt came from an ape cause if you are you should let the ape go free cause what are the cause of them being on the cage? who knows they might evolve and theory can be real..lol.....

    April 13, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Sohei

      There was civilization way before the Jews and their bible. They say the earth is 6,000 years old, but we have written records from other cultures that old. The torah was written 2,500 years ago. Understand the history of what you believe, before you believe in whatever.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Necifix

      I'm sorry. There is nothing to say to such ignorance and moronic statements. You clearly know nothing about evolution and probably nothing about your own religion as well.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      The eye is the easiest organ in the body to track it's stepwise evolutionary development. From single cellled organisms that had light sensitive proteins, to compound eyes with the "retina" broken into individual segments, each with it's own neuron, to the complex eyes we see in vertebrates, where the retina is one contiguous sheet.

      April 13, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiredofreligiousnuts

      "Guys dont think low of yourself you guys didnt came from an ape cause if you are you should let the ape go free cause what are the cause of them being on the cage?"

      Yes, you are uneducated. Can't even construct a decent sentence.

      April 13, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      @Yankee fan03
      I do not know where you learned to construct basic sentences and paragraphs, but I can only hope that you speak better than you write.

      April 13, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Yankee fan03

    Missing link its still missing guys you will never find a transitional fossils of human being nor any animals its been how many years already we have ipads we should be able to find if there is such thing.....By the way can you make me a milk out of nothing without using grass, cow to make it? remember out of nothing..

    April 13, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Sohei

      Scroll down a page or two for great answers on "missing link". As they stated, the true authors probably never even wrote that. News has to sell, so headlines are always sensationalized. As far as transitional, there are many examples. Once again scroll down and read from people way more informed than I.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      The believers argue that in order for something to exist something must have created it. Then they say that God exists and nothing created God. Hypocrisy has replaced logic.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Laughin Jude

      Every fossil is a transitional fossil...

      April 13, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. mike

    What the heck are you people arguing about. That thing is cool!

    April 13, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Alan Grant

      I agree. I write this at about 350 comments and counting. Why is it that so many people feel obligated to rant and rave about evolution and religion just because they see an article about a fossil? All this article is saying is this - Some scientists found a fossil - It was dated at 205 million years ago - that fact is a new discovery, and it's cool and interesting. That's it. And for all of you people who insist that the Earth is only 6000 years old–go find a paleontologist, ask him to show the largest fossil he has available, then have him knock you in the head with it as hard as he can. There's your frickin' evidence moron! Carbon dating is not a conspiracy.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      It wouldn't be a problem if creationists weren't trying to get legislation passed forcing their silly backwards beliefs back into public schools. There was the House Bill 368 (HB 368) in Tennessee as well as a duplicate one in the Senate, SB 1854 in Florida, and the Texan HB 2454 is funny because Texas has no problem with discrimination based on orientation, but a big problem with creationists not being appointed in universities.

      I tend to complain when I see legislation being pushed by creationists who try to get their non-science taught as science.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Ashe

      Ha – agreed. And I agree with Dr. Grant as well ;-). I'm a Christian (although I refuse to attend a church – make of that what you will, I consider it good sense while others consider it blasphemy) and I see absolutely no reason that God and science can't complement one another. Science is the layman's way of understanding God's laws in the Universe. Science is but the way that we understand the way the universe works. It's not blasphemy, it doesn't disprove God. I love paleontology. Anyone who says dinosaurs are a conspiracy theory needs to tighten their tinfoil hat and get back on the street corner with their sign.

      April 13, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Wolfgang Maximus

    As usual the creationists refuse to see the evidence that is plain as day. They continue to push the mythical creation stories that unlike evolution have absolutely NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER to back them up other than,"the bible says so". I LAUGH AND SPIT at such fallacies.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • PhdxinxDuh

      Creationists and people who believe in evolution both have evidence, they just interpret it differently biased on their presuppositions about how the world came to be... Both sides have educated people who believe in each theory.
      I personally think its plan as day that there had to be a Creator for life and the plants and solar system to exist. our bodies are so complex, they did not com from a puddle of mud... But if im wrong, it why would it matter? What are the consequences for your beliefs if you are right or if you were wrong?

      April 13, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      You're right, we both have evidence, and both interpret it differently... however...
      "Detecting genetic drift versus selection in human evolution"

      Papers like that are what scientist evidence are. That's what we interpret as "evidence". Creationists provide... well... either Behe (See: Dover Trial Day 11 PM Session) or "the bible"... I generally tend to side with the far more robust source of information.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. It's in the bible

    This is the reason Jesus sacrificed himself to became Super Zombie Jesus, to defend humanity from the remaining evil dinosaurs.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. dryhole

    Leave it to Doctor Seuss to solve this mystery.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Trolling

    Science is fact is it not?

    April 13, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. Shirley U Jest

    Fascinating. Especially this artist's rendition of the animal. Here is exhibits bird like feathers along the penguin style with reptilian teeth. This makes me very interested in when and why birds shed their forefathers teeth, they couldn't have been that much of a burden to flight.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. LouAZ

    FUBAR Donald Trumph has demonstrated that he and he alone is the "missing" link. Missing a brain !

    April 13, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. I pray for all of you.

    God created everything. That is all. Too much out there that our good scientists just cannot explain. How bout that miracle of birth? How about those areas of the brain that scientiests cannot explain. What is your hypothesis of this?

    April 13, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Artfulskeptic

      Things about the universe that that science can quanitfy and explain= Lots.
      Things about the universe that that science can quanitfy and explain = Nothing

      Science for the win!

      April 13, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • theist reliogions = joke

      So did God create himself?

      April 13, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      You should ask an evolutionary biologist, but if your default answer for everything is "there's a question you cannot yet adequately answer to my full expectations, thus everything you say is wrong and god did it all!", you're really not asking anything from a very honest place, now are you? You're clearly not interested in answers, just reinforcing your dogmatically held religious beliefs.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • richunix

      I think it's call cell division.......could be wrong...but I'm sure that's it. Of course we can go with your idea....POOF!

      April 13, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      I would pray for you to gain the ability to form ideas based on fact instead of blindly believing a book written only a couple thousand years ago (when humans were still pretty ignorant), but I don't want to waste my time talking to a non-existent being.

      Good luck.

      April 13, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      I pray with you. The God-haters are killing this country and wasting massive amounts of time and effort working on "science" to try to disprove God's existence. God gave them brains to do good and they are wasting it on nonsense. God made all beings, whether they are still aliveor not.

      April 13, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      I love the "Big Bang Theory". Supposedly a whole lot of gasses decided to get together and blow themselves up in outer space. I guess the gasses all had brains and had nothing better to do that day. Of course there were no people to light the match, no matches and ..................... Yeah, this theory really goes far!!!!! The God-haters can explain everything except where the gas came from and how did it explode.

      April 13, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      TO theist religions=joke.........
      God did not invent himself. As the Bible tells you "I am the beginning and the end. I am and always will be..." (to paraphrase). God did not invent himself, for he has always been. God invented everything that has ever existed and everything that has ever lived. Look deeper into the world than your shallow 'Americal Idol' mentality. God is waiting for you.

      April 13, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
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