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. Canadian Genius

    And as I got to the bottom of the comments section, I found I needed to scream IT'S NOT ABOUT RELIGEON EITHER. IT'S ABOUT A DINOSAUR.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray in Vegas

      If it's about science ... I got news for ya ... it's about religion too. Can't avoid it.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jesus

    Let's hear it from the Christ Nazis. I love how they blabber about Darwin being wrong and all the garbage they get from their cult leaders aka pastors aka child molsters et al. Truth is they have not botherd to learn anything about evolution. Darwin would have lost his mind if he would have known what we know today about his theory. Yes it's a theory because unlike jesus freaks scienctists don't pretent to know everything.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray in Vegas

      You tell'm like it is, Jesus! Go Science! Down with ignorance!

      April 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry2

      Evolution is a fact! It can be demonstrated in the lab with species that reproduce abundantly and rapidly, as with bacteria. The order in which events occurred is still a theory with many species. Evolution can also be demonstrated with the changes in DNA leading back to earlier relatives. DNA and RNA leave permanent trails in the genes.

      In fact, every human on this planet today can be traced back to a group of about 100 Africans who surrived a worldwide Ice Age, about 200,000 year ago, that killed every animal, including humans, in the world that lived above ground. That group of Africans were at the right place at the right time and escaped extinction. They were close to a section of the sea that did not freeze over, probably due to underwater hot vents that kept it from freezing, from which they could find enough sea life to eat. Genetic research led to this finding.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. cjc

    Evoloution isn't what most people would think it to be.

    Hundreds of thousands of years ago, beings came here for resources and also engineered the human races using a variety of compatible species. The mix of hominoids (bigfoot/chimps, etc) and the mix of humanoid genetics resulted in the human race. We did not evolve from primates to man. If so, then why are some primates still in primate form?

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

      Why is there still bacteria?

      April 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • cjc

      Keep in mind, we are an infant race. Many other celestial beings have lived in the galaxy and our solar system for millions of yeas longer than we have. We can't confirm what we weren't a witness of (in the physical sense).

      April 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      When there is a genetic mistake in a species and 1 critter gets a brand new trait, it allows him to compete better for survival. The rest of the species are left far behind; the new advance. The old are not destroyed.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      Bacteria are essential for many of life's processes to function. They are also the bottom of the food chain. If bacteria are wiped out, all life ends.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cjc

    klarg – bacteria will always exist. It's part of the 'circle of life.' Without it, then there would be no natural balance.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jaguyer

    Wow. Theres a new fossil discovered and only a couple people can manage to type something slightly intelligent? Go America.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillyBob

      something slightly intelligent? Go America.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Al Beritebak

    What is truly astonishing about this story is that they fail to mention even once, the most extraordinary thing about this creature, which is what appears to be hair and/or feathers along its neck and back. Instead they go on and on about its big eyes and teeth as though that is something unique among dinosaurs. Of course then they would have had to explain how they know it had hair/feathers..

    April 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Larry

    It's funny how most people with an invisible friend up in the sky do not comment on dinosaur discoveries, because their church tells them the earth is 8 000 years old. Indeed, carbon dating can not be believed when you have all the proof you want in a book of fairy tales by an unknown author or authors who knew the world was flat, and that the sun revolved around the earth. We should leave the christians alone for a while, however, because they have a really tough choice next year – to vote for Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Carbon dating can't be trusted with dinosaur fossils period, there's really a 50k year time limit. C-14's half life is WAY too short to look at dinosaurs. Instead they use things like U-Pb dating, they use radioactive materials with much longer half lives than C-14. (And since there's no organic material in a dino fossil period, even if C-14 had a long half life, it still wouldn't exist in the fossil, we really don't use C-14 dating for >50k years)

      April 12, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Moresmokeandmirrors

    Did someone did up a photo of this creature too?

    April 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Delhi

      ... yes, the "did" up a photo ... just like the photos of Jesus and the "virgin" Mary ... and Moses ... LOL!

      April 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moresmokeandmirrors

      Are you sure "the" dug up a photo?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • looniedog

      You can't get back at Dr. Delhi with that... Because, his "the" was most likely a typo... and your "did" is how you talk...

      April 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John Mack

    Andrew is about the only person in this thread who knows what he is talking about. The rest of the morons are uneducated and couldn't discuss this subject rationally if their life depended on it.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • dtboco3

      There are a couple of other rational comments, but for the most part I agree.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillyBob

      never laughed so hard in my life.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dr. Delhi

    Teabaggers are the missing link ...

    April 12, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Moresmokeandmirrors

    When you study Paleontology in school, they place a small bone fragment out for everyone to see, all the students paint pictures of what the creature may have looked liked, the winners get their pictures posted on CNN. Same holds true for the group that writes the best story about it also.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Spoken like someone who has never read a single article in paleontology. Give "A New Skull of Early H-mo from Dmanisi, Georgia" a go, (Published in Science in 2002) you'll find that none of the CNN graphics department images would make it into a proper peer reviewed article.

      Don't confuse CNN with science.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moresmokeandmirrors

      The name on the CNN photo appears to be a PhD major in Paleontology with several publications to his name?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Hum, so it might be a Smithsonian picture, which means there might be more information than CNN is providing. I'd really like to know why CNN refuses to ever link to the relevant peer reviewed articles. BBC does it with their science reporting, but CNN seems to think "hey we don't need to let people read the original papers!"

      *sigh* such is life, and such is the state of poor science reporting. Anyway, apparently the picture isn't a CNN graphics department work, it might be a Smithsonian graphics department work, which is better, though still not peer reviewed research.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Barndoor

    These people want the "missing link" found so bad, I almost feel sorry for them.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Delhi

      There are plenty of examples of transitional species ... the only thing "missing" is brain cells from the ignorant religulous fools ...

      April 12, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moresmokeandmirrors

      There are no transitionary examples from one kind of species to another, and thats no theory.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You really think there's some need for a "missing link" when you've been around all this time, Barndoor?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      There is no "missing link", it's impossible to find. The reason is every time you find a new transitional fossil, there are now two more gaps you need to fill. Find two more fossils, now you have four more gaps. The "missing link" is a misnomer, there isn't one, it's transitional fossils which show general changes.

      But "NM ER 1470, KNM ER 1813, Lucy, Turkana Boy, Peking Man, DIK-1" are all hominid transitional fossils, I could give you a larger list if you want, and I could give you lists of countless other transitional fossils. Seriously, to deny the existence of transitional fossils the best you can do is plug your ears and scream they don't exist.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moresmokeandmirrors

      But there are no examples of transitions between kinds of species, only changes within kinds. We see changes within kinds all around us, breeds of dogs are an example.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Do me a favor and define the word "kind" in any robust fashion so I can specifically tackle that claim.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      It's funny how evolution is still a theory? How many more years before its called a law? People continually call it fact because scientifically they can't call it a law...

      Evolution would be a law if only it were like gravity, the law of thermal dynamics or Ohm's law but its not because every time you reach your hand in the cookie jar its inconsistent. It's inconsistent with reality and humanity.

      Also note when people talk about evolution they really mean micro evolution which has actually never occur in science. Species never change into another species – it's never happened no matter what scientists tell you over cnn. There has been no definitely link between dinosaurs and birds or humans from apes.

      However, marco evolution occurs all the time. Like the gentleman mentioned about the butterfly turning from black to white. Species adapt they don't evolve. In fact, over time things degrade not get better biologically speaking.

      I don't expect you to take my word for it. Wikipedia micro evolution and macro evolution. Even after reading that I don't expect you to believe it b/c I'm probably some religious fanatic who is trying to push his Jesus on you when I'm actually trying to teach you science but since you were taught evolution growing up you believe it to be fact when they find missing links monthly. If you find the real missing link wouldn't the search be over? Hopefully we'll find bigfoot soon so he can settle it all for you so we can finally put the link between apes and man to rest. But even if we find him we'll still find we are a few genes short necessary to fit the puzzle together.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Joe, I wrote post after post on the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific law and why a scientific theory trumps scientific law. Just read any of them, then accept you're wrong, because I'm tired of repeating the same thing.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      I agree. Their "missing link" is God. I hope they find Him.
      As my wife so eloquently tells my kids when they don't want to go to church, "I don't care what religion you are, just pick one and believe." To believe that you live, you die, and the worms eat you brains in a wooden box is no way to go through life and eternity.

      April 13, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. The Internet!

    Weellll...... is it a house cat???

    April 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Nah, It's a hybrid: a mix of HeavenSent, Freddy, and CW.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ha!

    Take that you creationist b@stards!

    April 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
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