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. DP

    I'm just scanning to figure out when we can get miniatures for pets.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patrick

    I can't help but chuckle at the glaring amount of error and misconceptions that some of these posters have about evolution. Please come back when you have acquired an appreciation for evolution and science in general that reaches beyond the 9th grade, the internet will be waiting.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Richard Head

    Sarah Palin says the earth is 4000 yrs old.I'm going with her.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian Malcolm

      I'm impressed. It took a whole 200 comments before someone mentioned that whack-job from Alaska (I refuse to say or even type her name.) I'm still skimming the rest of the comments looking for someone blaming Obama for creating an evolution conspiracy. If no one got to it yet, maybe someone will be blaming the Democrats for planting the fossil in order to get their budget plan passed. In case you haven't picked up on the sarcasm, here's a straight comment - These CNN comment lists are absolutely ludicrous. And yes, I know, I'm a hypocrite.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
    • mirza

      No comments about SARAH PALIN>

      April 13, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Moresmokeandmirrors

    Why is the vocabulary of evolution always comprised of words like, we think, maybe, could have been, possibly, maybe if tens of millions of years were a reality...? Theses are not the words of real science.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Because you haven't read a single publication on the topic of evolution, but rather garner your knowledge from anonymous posters on a news website.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moresmokeandmirrors

      All publications use these words.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Having spent the last four years of university trying to learn how to write scientific papers, conduct scientific research, and learn "real science", I've gotta disagree. Admitting limits of research is fundamental to research. Scientists use words like "we think", "maybe", and "perhaps" because the worst thing to do in science is make claims that overstate evidence.

      That's why you'll often find that if you forget to put your errors on your numbers, your professors will strangle you. "Real science" is intellectually honest, claiming absolute total accuracy is fundamentally unscientific. Science doesn't deal with proofs, it deals only in evidence.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moresmokeandmirrors

      So if those words were removed in all these publications, evolution would be overstating the evidence?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yes, they are, you moron. They're exactly what science says. Unlike you dimwitted fundies, scientists don't pretend they have every answer. Only idiots like you would do that.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Evolution can't overstate anything... it's a scientific theory. Instead, the articles produced supporting evolution would be overstating their support.

      Think of it like this...
      "We have discovered that the alpha particles fired at gold foil by and large pass unphased with only minor deflection however in some cases the particles were launched backwards from the foil. We believe that this can be explained best by a dense core in the gold atoms."

      That's a safe way to say you have found evidence for the atomic nucleus (Rutherford's Gold Foil Experiment)

      If, however, you were to say "the alpha particles were launched back because of a dense center in the gold atoms", you are overstating what the paper supports.

      Now, continued research over and over with a bunch of papers with that nebulous talk and you have a coherent picture of an atom and the nucleus of an atom... but none of the papers are likely to overstate their evidence.

      In fact, my summery of Rutherford's experiment isn't all that inaccurate either:
      "The Scattering of α and β Particles by Matter and the Structure of the Atom"

      "It seems reasonable to suppose that the deflexion through a large angle is due to a single atomic encounter, for the chance of a second encounter of a kind to produce a large deflexion must in most cases be exceedingly small."

      "it seems reasonable to suppose"

      You can read it for yourself, even with something as well established as the existence of an atomic nucleus, scientists are careful not to overstate their words in their papers. Do you deny the evidence for atoms because physicists also use "maybe", ""suppose", perhaps", "generally"?

      April 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moresmokeandmirrors

      The problem with the language used is that it leads the everyday reader to have faith in evolution, especially as it is introduced as the sole authority on the topic and to such young audiences.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moresmokeandmirrors

      Tom Tom, I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and it is true. Science sees what God has done.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      It's not a problem with the language scientists use if the everyday reader interprets it as "faith" rather than the nature of scientific evidence. And evolutionary scientists are the sole authority on the diversity of life, in the same way that physicists are the sole authority on the nucleus of an atom.

      You challenge the veracity of evolution, on the basis of "iffy language", but I really doubt you deny the veracity of a lot of our fundamental physics. Do you deny special relativity? I mean, even despite the fact that things like time dilation could be derived just by basic trigonometry, Einstein's 1905 paper on special relativity was ripe with words like "might", "possible", and all he was doing was just plain derivations!

      Do you deny special relativity then? Do you challenge the authority of physicists to comment on special relativity? What background would you have to do so? What background do you have to challenge evolutionary biology on the principle that evolutionary scientists use the same words that physicists do?

      These words are used in ANY scientific discipline, if people have "faith" rather than accept the evidence for what it is, evidence, then it is a problem with science education rather than with the words used. Scientists use those words to maintain intellectual honesty, why is that a problem?

      April 12, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillyBob

      And GOD saw all this only 2011 years ago? When SCIENCE shows it all occurred before GOD saw anything? Wait...Back to the Future!

      April 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • JSinKC


      "The problem with the language used is that it leads the everyday reader to have faith in evolution, especially as it is introduced as the sole authority on the topic and to such young audiences."

      Sounds a lot like religion to me. I for one know that I was going to church and being told how god is the truth and I have to believe in him and worship him or else I would spend eternity in the agony of hell long before I was told anything about evolution.

      April 13, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Polaris

    @ Observer you wrote:
    "How much science can you find in the Bible? Noah's ark? Flat earth? Talking snakes? Are you serious?"
    If the scientists during the days of Columbus had read their Bibles they would have known that the Earth was round.
    Hebrews 11:3 (New King James Version)
    "3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."

    Job 1:7 (King James Version)
    7And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

    Notice it mentions "to and fro" & "up and down."

    In Spanish it is even more clear:

    Job 1:7 (Reina-Valera 1995)
    7 Dijo Jehová a Satanás:
    –¿De dónde vienes?
    Respondiendo Satanás a Jehová, dijo:
    –De rodear la tierra y andar por ella.

    Notice the words "rodear la tierra" which means circling the earth.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      They didn't need to read their bibles to know that, they needed to be moderately familiar with greek philosophers. Aristotle provided one of the most famous first evidences for a round earth, but not the first. In truth Columbus disagreed with the size of the earth, not on the shape... and as it happened, he was very, very wrong. BTW, aside from the fact that we've known the world was round for the past over two thousand years, your argument sounds a lot like a texas sharpshooter anyway.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      The earth is flat in the Bible:
      * Isaiah 11:12 “And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble the banished ones of Israel, And
      will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.”
      * Isaiah 40:22 “God sits above the circle of the earth.”
      * Matthew 14:8 “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.”

      April 13, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      The four corners of the Earth refer to the corners on a map.
      The "Circle" of the Earth refer tot he shape fo the Earth as seen from above/space/Heaven. You don't see a 3-D shere. You just see a circle. Look at the photos of Earth from the Moon and tell me what you see. A square?
      When the kingdoms of Earth were in existence at the time of the Bible, they were all in relatively close proximity. You didn't have to travel around the world to see them all.

      None of this says that the World is flat, anyway.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      If you are going to comment about what was said, please read it first.
      "And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.”. Notice it said EARTH not MAP.
      “God sits above the circle of the earth.” Since only God could see the earth at that point in time and he supposedly created it, he must know that it isn't a CIRCLE, but a SPHERE. Anyone viewing earth from space can see it is a SPHERE. We have to assume that God knows the difference between 2-dimensional figures and 3-dimensional figures even if his believers don't.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PRFunky

    So, all of the prophets agreed; the time had come; God was going to meet with the people of Earth. And a place had been chosen; it was LAX – Los Angeles International Airport. All of the media gathered there along with the high priests and ministers of all of the Earthly religions. And when the time came, a giant flying saucer appeared and then hovered over LAX. A long escalator descended from the center of the saucer to the ground. And soon after, what appeared to be an ordinary man rode the escalator from those dizzying heights down to the ground. When he reached the bottom, the cameras and microphones were flung into his face;

    "Are you God? Are you Yahweh?", the mob of reporters asked.

    "No, I am not, I've simply been assigned to prepare you to meet God.", claimed the man. "There are some things you should know ahead of time. For one, you have to watch what you say. God is extremely sensitive. She's black you know."

    April 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    Awsome find. And a missing link at that! Was it the first openly gay dinosaur too? lol.
    Just love the way they slapped some fur on it and then neglect to explain why. I guess without the artistic addons they would have no evidence to support the "missing link" headline.
    I love science but I've been seriously calling in to question this misleading incestious relationship between the media and evolution. The headlines are just getting more and more out of touch with fact based reason. They are judging everything based on todays pop culture and evolutionists are only too happy to give them what they want to hear because it means publicity and funding!

    April 12, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LGB

    Why biological evolution from one life form to others, regardless of time involved, is not true is quite simple. Evolution from simple forms such as viruses or bacteria to more complex things requires mutations that involve the formation of new structures (however primitive) or processes that didn't exist prior. The emperical directly-observable evidence of reproduction, demonstrated billions of times daily on Earth, shows that mutations that result in new structures or processes do not happen. Mutations do happen for sure, but they are modifications (for better or worse or inconsequential) of existing structures or processes. The best way to prove or not prove something is to test it; the daily scientific test called reproduction shows that viruses and bacteria (a good but not exclusive example due to their high reprductive rate), given N generations, remain viruses and bacteria with some re-arranged features but not with features that require the formation of new genetic information. Re-arranged informaton, yes, but not uniquely new information that would be required to progress to eventually dissimiliar life forms. So it goes with all organisms, the emperical evidence of reproduction overwhelmingly proves that like kind produces like kind. Science demands that the most emperical evidence have the highest weight, and that is what reproduction does.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. luke

    I can't believe how many brilliant scientists, who can actually prove evolution is a reality, have time to get on CNN and argue with Christians about their beliefs. 🙂

    April 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Themagicrat


      I can't believe how many Christians click on a story about a dinosaur and antagonize those of us who are interested in what it means by bringing religion into it. Keep your faith and religious beliefs to yourself. They are not relevant to a story about science. If you want your children to be ignorant, so be it, you have control over them till they turn 18 or get knocked up by your cousin and go to live in his trailer. :eave the rest of us alone.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • luke

      You show your intelligence with your fourth grade insults. You are obviously a little hostile. I was just making the point that if all these people knew so much about science and evolution you would think they wouldn't have to be so insecure about the issue when it is questioned. To me being so defensive and insulting other people shows me that there is something missing and you know that on some level. Thats just one man's opinion.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Themagicrat

      You made an insulting comment that scientists are insecure enough to argue with religious nuts. I countered by asking why you religious nuts click on a science story and start the argument in the first place. Could it be you are the defensive ones? I used the fourth-grade insult to illustrate the fact that I think most religious nuts are uneducated folk from the more insular parts of the country (to be kind). In the past I might have refrained from such insults, and been as calm and informative as Andrew has tried to be. But when YOU come to a comments section for an article that has nothing to do with religion and drag what might have been a fun, and informative conversation between like-minded people into yet another polarizing debate about creation vs. evolution, then you deserve it. Go comment on a religious website, leave science to the people who want to understand it.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • 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. If someone said aliens put this fossil here you would probably not both to throw out fourth grade isults or stereotypes about certain parts of the country. There is more to Christianity and that is why this troubles you. Again this is one man's opinion. Sorry I posted this in the wrong spot originally so it is on here twice. I do not know you but I wish you well.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Themagicrat

      You are wrong. If someone said (and seriously believed it) that aliens put the fossils there, I would rip them up equally. No one, especially me, attacked Christians. I don't go to Christian websites and post on their forums. That is a place for people who are like-minded to go for comfort and talk about something they are passionate about amongst themselves. Why would I want to disrupt that? I don't hate Christians, nor do I hate any religion or faith, despite the fact that I believe much of the death and misery in the world is caused by people being "proud" of their religion and feeling the need to convert others to it. This article is about a fossil discovery. Let's talk about it, the implications, the science, the possibilities it raises. No, we can't do that, we have to have people post their poison about how this is yet another hoax promulgated by the evil atheist scientific community to try and discredit Christianity. You guys need to chill and if you don't believe in evolution, don't believe it. But don't try to hold the rest of us back. So if you come to a scientific article, and turn it into a religious debate, imagine me coming to a Christian website and starting to hammer away your beliefs. Science and religion are apples and oranges. Stop trying to equate them. Doing science isn't going to shake the faith of the millions of Christians worldwide. Don't come here and antagonize us and expect it not to come back at you.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • luke

      This is neither a scientific or a religious news site, it is CNN, so in my opinion anything is open for discussion. I enjoyed reading your opinion (except for the ridiculous insults) I agree with your point that science with never shake the faith of Christians. I hope you find what you are looking for. Take care! God Bless!

      April 13, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. Polaris

    @ PRFunky that sounds like Satan's final deception trying to impersonate the real event.
    Just as he can transform into an angel of light, likewise will be the world's greatest deception with which he will confound both the scientific and religious communities (who do not follow the truth).

    2 Corinthians 11:14 (New King James Version)
    "14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. "

    April 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toshin

      I am a very avid Christian, and I am confused by the whole fight of science and religion. I think that the fight stemed from the whole evolution theory and that is why it always goes in that direction. God created man from the earth, but it didn't say how. So people think, when man was, he was never anything other than man. But I do believe that man was made as man. But I also look to see what is written, how it was written, then see what isn't written. Like some people try to argue that Adam and Eve were the only humans. If that were so, the birth of only two sons would be the end on man; and why would God mark Cain for the other tribes to see and know what he had done? I also think that theory, that hasn't been proven and stated in such a way that cannot be disproven, cannot shake religion. I find it funny how people try to question faith in God based and what they call hear say with out supporting evidence, but then try to argue with theories or laws that have no supporting evidence.

      I honestly believe that science isn't a threat to God, nor God to science. Science is seeing how God made things work and for us to learn and discover; that is my theory. Some day, we will have enough science to end up doing nothing more than proving there is a god because we will reach the limit of what can be grasped and discover things and record events, that by all the rules that we have established by science will be broken. We as humans were given all the tools that we need to be able to do what we want, and then to protect us from ourselves, just we haven't learned to use them all, and those that have are feared (then silenced). Science has already discovered what can be called a spirit, but called an aura, that surrounds a person. This aura has been taught by Christians to be used to help others. Other religions have figured something out to the same effect. I think that this is the first step. It took us a long time to learn that a human can exceed his normal limit when pushed right, or that our minds can solve most of what is wrong with us. It will take even longer to get to the point where, we will know for a fact that there is something more than us out there; and not just alien life forms.

      Science and religion need not fight each other, but work together. Some things were discovered by scientist that turned to God for answers. They are not a threat to each other, but two ways of seeing something that cannot be seen.

      April 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ed Bailey

    Now, for you non believers, if you don't think there is a supreme being, COME TO UTAH! Other than the sea gulls somebody up there MUST have protected the Mormons! Now this cute creature isn't an extinct species! I have ancestral proof he has living relatives in my family tree back in Alabama. really only a generation or two from my present small terminating branch.I can show you, just don't bring food or have the odor of it on you!

    April 12, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. IDmom

    How does the artist know what it actually looks like? Does he/she have a time machine in which he/she was able to go back in time to see this dinosaur in order to render its liking for the world to see?

    Evolution, by definition, is change over time. This is a fact (your hair color, eye color, shape, height are all proof of change over time). However, there has yet to be a single shred of actual proof that macro evolution has ever occurred (macro evolution is an organism suddenly changing into something else). That requires a whole lot of faith.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Oooops, I went to hit "reply" to your post and accidentally hit "report abuse". If child protective services knocks down your door tonight tell them it was just a misunderstanding 😉

      Anyway, what I wanted to say was that this is something the've done time and time again and most people are completely oblivious to it. This drawing belongs in a comic book, not on a cnn story about science. Same with the hairy caveman pictures they display anytime someone digs up an old bone.
      90% of what people think about evolution is based on this type of "evidence".

      April 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LeGrisbi


    April 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. notogop

    Andrew, I truly appreciate the time and energy your have used to try to enlighten the ignorant masses. My father was a Baptist minister and from my experience, you are wasting your efforts on the majority of these Neanderthals. Your can show all the evidence in the world, but until they rewrite the old King James to include evolution, it just won't be bought by the Sarah Palins, Geo. Bushes, etc., of the world. Thanks for the information you shared/

    April 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      I'm sitting watching television, drinking gin, and tinkering on my laptop idly trying to avoid studying for an acoustics final this Saturday. While I appreciate the compliment, I'm really not under much of a delusion that this will dissuade anyone's beliefs. It's just a nice way to kill some time. 🙂

      April 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Allen

    All fanatical though both religious and theoretical aside, is anyone besides me annoyed that every freaking dinasaur they find is "THE missing link". As if anybody really knew where the "link" was.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
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