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. mirza

    Hundreds of unknown topics are still undiscovered, Million or Billions of years past creation and history, it will take time more and more.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. buysellwwii

    Dinos rock! ck out this cool website buyandsellwwii dot com I think you will enjoy it 🙂

    April 13, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. gerc

    Missing link to what? Piltdown man, Javaman, Peking man. Will the evolutionist's hoaxes ever end?

    April 13, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      From this article apparently the scientist thinks it is a missing link from dinosaurs to birds, or penguins, or long-toothed lizards, or maybe a snake, yeah, a snake, yeah, that's it ! No, no, no. Not a snake. A chicken with big teeth that later evolved again into a goldfish! We just didn't find the bones of that one yet! The great ancestor of the Thanksgiving trurkey I ate last year. YIKES!!!

      April 13, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Valgal

    What I don't understand is why there aren't many more links. If the change happened over a long period of time, then there shouldn't be "news" of finding one or two transitiional pieces of evidence. This may be a poor example, but when you photograph your children growing up, you have lots of photos from every stage, not just a bunch as a baby and then a bunch of them as an adult and one or two as a teenager. If growth is a process, we should see more snapshots of the trainsition.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a

      Aside from the obvious "They didn't have cameras or humans back then." These fossils are hard to find as most are buried inside solid rock. Then there is the timeframe issue. Nature destroys everything eventually...a million years or 200 million years and nothing is left but dust.

      April 13, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • JSinKC

      Just to run with your analogy: Try leaving all your albums of your kids outside in the elements for a million years. Then come back and tell us how many pictures you still have.

      April 13, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. tdg44


    April 13, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Crazy Tea-bagger

    All I want to know is, what any of this has to do with Jesus and my tax dollars? And can I blame Obama for the dinosaurs?

    April 13, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      Blame Obama for not giving my tax dollars to the poor dinosuars so they could live free to terrorize Americans.

      April 13, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ike

    The truth is that most "ignorant" Christians are very well educated and are in the top of thier scientific fields without having to believe in evolution. This is one article that makes an assumption into fact. Most articles of this type will be either disputed or contradicted by fellow evolutionary scientist down the road, but this is the one that will be seen by everybody. All of the facts of evolution are about as solid as all of the facts about everything else, always shifting from time to time as more things are discovered. Science is nothing more than a tool used to try to figure out how nature and the things around us work and with every scientific achievment comes another problem. Christianity isn't about how things work, but how people live within the framework of everything around us.

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

      The intelligent Chrisitian scientists are the ones making miracles by finding cures for diseases and new medical techniques to help people, using the brains God gave them to better the world. The God-hating scientists are the ones digging up bones and drawing ridiculous pictures of animals that they really have no idea what they look like, while professing "evolution" and denying God. How sad.

      April 13, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      There may not be any blogger's statements today that will be any less thoughtful than the idea that scientists specializing in chemistry are believers and geologists are non-believers. Such a totally biased point of view will not lead to education.

      April 13, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Villaqomez&Quinoez

    that a ugly dinousar

    April 13, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Trevor

    Once again, reading the comments proves to me how stupid the human race really is.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Einstein

    Evan... It was kind of a joke, but also not. There are many kinds of "smart," and each has its benefits. Being clever or having a good memory, organizing thoughts efficiently or understanding spatial relationships well... those are but a few. Combining our mental strengths into usable, logical thought is another story. In my experience, the deeply religious have a great deal of difficulty with that step.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ninja scenePrincessQueen

    lol i would soooo totally love that to be my pettt!!! :DDDDD
    all the wayy!! ;DDD hehe
    only if it had a bow!!!!xD

    April 13, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Willy

    How did it go extinct? It looks a little like a chicken. I think Homersimpsonarius ate all of them. "Ummmmm, chickenasaurius".

    April 13, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. palintwit

    Teabaggers believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that man walked with the dinosaurs. They believe that early man rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. peick

    I'm so hoping that Hans-Dieter Sues is a PhD. That way, you can say that Dr. Sues has published a book about a new dinosaur.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jen :)

    so I am not trying to create any arguments and harsh comments here.....why do all of u and I mean ALLLLLLLLLLL of you have to argue about christinaity and evolution?......why can't you let people believe in what they want too? why not just ignore it and let it be??? also thumper rule here if you don't have something nice to say don't say anything at all......

    April 13, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
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