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. truthinrock

    How appropriate for someone with the handle "cesar" to start giving orders. lol I guess "Caesar" was taken.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. raven

    With an undignified name like that its probably wishin it stayed buried. Bucktooth ? Thanks Mr Archaeologist. Next up is Bad Hairasaurus.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JaC

    Cesar...still waiting on YOUR answer to those questions.

    I personally don't believe in evolution because I don't have the far as science is concerned, I only believe what I can see.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh Rly?

      I only believe what I can see as well.
      #1 If I've never been there it doesn't exist...ergo....England is a conspiracy or cartographers.
      #2 If I don't understand how it works then it doesn'"Magnets? How do they work"?
      #3 Another thing I can't see that doesn't exist...atoms...I know you can see atoms with a microscope but re read #2 if for a full understanding....

      April 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • daws

      So you don't believe in gods or that the universe existed before you were born then...

      April 13, 2011 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lettuce Prey

    Look at those snappers, will ya?

    April 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • looniedog

      "When!?..."... "Soon!"... "How soon!?"... "Very soon!"...

      April 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. longtooth

    God exists. He created evolution. He doesn't care what you think right now. He set the top spinning, and experiences how it all plays out. He loves you, even though you don't deserve it.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • MH

      He's not so sure about you yet though.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azuma


      April 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Did God create evolution 6,000 years ago?

      April 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • common sense

      The bible doesn't say creation took 6,000 years, period. That's a misconception that creationists propogate. Please don't attack a book you've probably never read or understand.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      @common sense,

      You might do some research in the future. There are a number of sources that come up with the 6,000 year estimate based on old Hebrew writings. That doesn't make it proven true, but at least you will know more about what you are talking about.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. JaC

    I call evolution the cartoon theory...because all its "proofs" seem to consist of drawings and artists renderings.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • MH

      And I call the Bible the "fairy-tale" theory. Cause its "proofs" consist of myths and stories borrowed from other religions, in other languages, and translated to other languages still. Written by people who werent even there at the time or several decades later. Its the 'Gospel Truth" though.
      You're right however... no pictures in that book. So it must be right!

      April 12, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • klarg

      Just because your research of the topic has been limited to cartoons does not mean there isn't other evidence.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rev. Mike

      And gravity a theory also? Sorry Evolution is a proven fact! Get over it! Welcome to the 19th century!! Only a little bit to go to catch up with the rest of us!

      April 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JImBob

    Don't we have enough problems without inventing new dinosaurs? Made JimBob so angry he didn't even read this article.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • MH

      Whats wrong with more dinosaurs? The more the merrier I say.
      Dont worry your little head about it. Its long dead – it cant hurt you.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Canadian Genius

    #2 is a trick question – there were no states then.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tmk

    Let's not get out scientific education from a CNN article

    April 12, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Polaris

    Religion and Science compliment each other.
    Both require faith to be believed and both are verified by facts/laws.
    The issue with Religion and Science is that we don't know everything.
    Therefore we can't explain everything.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      How much science can you find in the Bible? Noah's ark? Flat earth? Talking snakes? Are you serious?

      April 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azuma

      Yet that is exactly what religion tries to do: explain everything.

      God did it.

      At least scientists admit their ignorance and tackle the unknown with such a fervor it impresses those who wish to seek the truth.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon in Canada

      This is the silliest thing I have read in a long time. Science and religion are opposites. Science is based on observation, experimentiation and above all a desire to know the truth. Religion is based on the abandonment of the intellect in favour of believing what makes you feel good.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • f

      @ Observer.
      You just can't wait to die and be put in a box so the worms can eat you until you are gone. How lovely. What a wonderful life you must lead looking forward to this time. Heaven isn't oo far away. Start believing in something more.

      April 13, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ben Jordan


    April 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frangible

      F that, I'm supporting the NCR.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toshin

      And I am supporting the NRA.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MH

    You can have all the "faith" you want. Dont confuse it with anything other than what it is. Your feeling.
    Personally, your feeling about something doesnt mean a darn thing to me.
    I have a feeling you're going to have a surprise after your final breath....

    See how that works.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. copper

    how do they know if its not just baby one bcuz t rex babys had hair are feathers seen that some were let me know if im wrong

    April 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jimbo

    Whatever you choose to believe, you can't help loving the idea that the scientists called it "buck-toothed evil lizard." I suspect I know some people who are descendants of this creature.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • LuigiPastram

      Most of them related to Michele Bachman and Sarah Palin, you betcha

      April 12, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. L64

    Lol jimbo

    April 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
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