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. brian

    This looks like liberal under she finds out her welfare check has been cut off 🙂

    April 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Straight A's

    #1Morgan died in 1945 before we knew anything about DNA – You may as well be quoteing Newton about Einstein's theory of relativity
    #2 Susumu Ohno's "The notion of the Cambrian pananimalia genome" where he talks about how so much diversity came about in the Cambrian Explosion. It's called punctated evolution. You take a dead man out of context but're an Xstain...that's your trade
    #3 Irreducible complexity?Debunked by peer reviewed research. You should try harder but I think you shot the wad
    #4 Research the Ensatina salamander or go on reading your bible.
    I noticed Evan ignored this one...I wonder why? Probably because he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      Unfortunately for creationists and their ilk, facts are not welcome, they rely on vapour for substance. They are probably frantically reading their bibles for the answer

      April 14, 2011 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. LeRoy

    i'd love to know how they find bones and know exacty what the thing looks like, the color of its skin etc.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Themagicrat

    So after trying to absorb everything written here (excluding the obvious trolls), I have some questions and postulations. These are serious questions, not facetious. I am truly curious what your goals were in coming here to this scientific article and starting a religious discussion.

    1. Based on the fact that this was a scientific article, with not a single mention of religion or the Judeo-Christian creation belief ( I wont say myth so as not to start yet another digression), why would anyone read it, and then take the time to write a post or comment that has nothing to do with the article and starts a debate about religion vs science?

    2. Do Creationist Christians feel that any science that may contradict their interpretation of the bible is a direct attack on their beliefs, even if religion is not mentioned or intentionally used as a benchmark or opposing view?

    3. If the answer to number 2 is yes, do all of you creationist theory Christians who are posting believe that all science in the areas of archaeology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, astronomy...basically any scientific field that investigates areas that might contradict the Judeo-Christian creation belief should cease?

    4. Are you Creationist Christians comfortable with a scientific interpretation of the world around us existing side by side with your religious beliefs, or do you feel everyone should believe as you do?

    In other words, what exactly is your fear in this article in particular and science in general? Are you afraid your children will find out about it and diverge from the beliefs you hold hear? Or is it that you feel it is your duty to try to convert the entire world to your beliefs? Are you afraid that you yourself might have your faith shaken if this scientific information is allowed to circulate?

    5. Why is it so important to you to try and force the scientific community to allow for the possibility of Creationist theory? Don't you feel that science is the practice of observing data and postulating from it? Why try to contaminate the data with a personal belief instead of allowing scientists to come across any proofs of your belief on their own in the course of their investigations?

    In other words, if Christianity is based on faith, meaning that you have to accept the concepts it enshrines without any physical proofs (something just about every Christian falls back on at some point in a debate), then why try to twist or interpret science to make those proofs?

    6. Finally, when you come here to this scientific article's comments page to make your religious comment, and are contradicted or opposed, why play the victim card? Don't you feel that by entering the ring and engaging the "enemy" you are now fair game?

    I hope you will take these questions seriously and try to give solid answers. There are actually one or two of you are thoughtful and expressive rather than obtuse and combative and you are the ones I'm hoping will try to answer these questions.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Observer

    Proof of Evolution: snakes no longer understand language and can't speak anymore.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lora

    How creative of them . I look at this as being a large anaconda head and neck. All they had to do is add a little fur , some reptilian skin and there you have it, A missing link! They dream big don’t they?

    April 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. iamando

    This world is crying to be free.. This world is dying can't you see.. We needed turn to do it right. We needed mind revolution, to get away from this selfishness. Stop playin' blind! Break free! -helloween-

    April 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pamela Bunting Lewis

    Who is Chuck from the comments awhile back? "Fine line between brilliance and insanity. It all made sense to me. I don't agree with it all. However, I see the logic and reasoning in the arguments. So, as for the dinosaur, are we going back into a new AGE. Our world has evolved through many ages. And, will humankind continue to exist? i.e. are we smarter than a dinosaur? I know that 5th graders are though, had 6 sections of those as a teacher once, but what about surviving the elements. Can the human race continue as we face climate changes and should we continue to exist. Where does the Second Coming of Christ come into this Chuck? The only brilliant Chuck I know is the one I was married to for 25 faithful years. The Macarthur Genius. Pamela Bunting Lewis April 13,2011

    April 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pamela Bunting Lewis

      Oh yes, and the Chuck of the Peanuts gang when Peppermint Patty refers to Charlie Brown as "Chuck." Look at the fantastic responses to the subject of a dinosaur on the planet! This is finally an intellectual thought provoking piece for the intellectual scientific community and the rest of the intelligence on planet earth. Great reading on the comment with this. Well worth the time. Check the time lines if you haven't in a while of the different periods and ages.And the years of existence in each. I really want to see this dinosaur. Human fight wars, carry guns and are violent. They lie and steal and gossip and bear false witness against their neighbors, don't take care of their children very well or their eldery. They get HIV and AIDS from illicit behaviors in part..maybe it is time for the human race to die off. Mark Twain came in with Haley's Comet and then left with it. Haley's Comet was back again last year wasn't it and we are just talking about 100 years in that. Think about the time table and actual age, as we know it, of planet earth. Really a lot to think about.Even UFO's existed in Biblical days. Check out the Book of Ezekiel. Pamela Bunting Lewis replying to myself and Chuck. 4/13/11

      April 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pamela Bunting Lewis

      Maybe the Chuck from the above comments who says that people have referred to him ways displeasing to him is really more of a "gifted eccentric." That is the one I prefer. Pamela Bunting Lewis April 13. 2011

      April 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bo

    another new thing.
    who spends their free time in north new mex?

    April 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. koech

    i have been reading through your comments and i surely like them because God created intelligent beings who can reason based on facts and beliefs. one thing i know (subject to correction) is that all living creatures did not come into existence by chance, they must have been designed to ascertain functionality of every system and organs including the puzzling reproduction system, nervous system and the heart (self sustaining pump) which for the case of humans can beat up to 72*60*24*365*80 = over 3,000,000,000 times non-stop. so in quest for answers relating to this, it must be supported by facts up to the limit of current human knowledge then there comes the designer (God) to fill what humans don't know.

    April 14, 2011 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cyto

    For the angry creationists: Observations of the earth cannot possibly be in conflict with God. God created everything – the heavens and the earth. There is no possibility that His creation could be in conflict with Him.

    If you hold up a "biblical truth" as being incompatible with something that can easily be observed in creation, you are not conforming to His plan. Any declarative statement as to the nature of creation as direct revelation runs the risk of putting you in opposition to God.

    There is nothing within creation that was not created. Science is a methodical system for observing creation. Science and God cannot be in opposition. Any "religious leader" who tells you science is against God is not to be trusted. Any scientist who tells you that science disproves the existence of God is not to be trusted. Science describes the universe. Religion tells us Who the Creator is. They are complementary.

    Science can exist without religious faith – since He gave us His creation to study. Religion without science is senseless. He has commanded that we look for Him within His creation. Through this we may come to understand Him better. The fact that some who study creation do not see the creator is irrelevant.

    April 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eshpigmenou

    Was the quarter found with the dinosaur? I thought they started making quarters in 1987.


    April 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nokes

    We have dinosuars in the Athos as pets.

    April 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. no wizard in the sky

    This is an article about remains that were found of a animal that died a long time ago. No religious implications that I see. No preaching of evolutionism. ......... 1 note: The bible was written by men, just like the theory of evolution, not a wizard in the sky. I read the bible several times and have concluded that it should be in the part of the library labeled "FICTION".

    April 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. madd1313

    Very Kool.

    April 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
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