University of Michigan paleontologist Jeffrey Wilson and graduate student John Whitlock, along with coauthors from Brigham Young University and Dinosaur National Monument, describe the new species in a paper published online Feb. 24 in the journal Naturwissenschaften.
The discovery represents a rare look at a sauropod skull, known for only a handful of the more than 120 species known to science. Skulls are important, because they can tell scientists a lot about what and how an animal ate.
"At first glance, sauropods don't seem to have done much to adapt to a life of eating plants," said Wilson, an assistant professor of geological sciences and an assistant curator at the U-M Museum of Paleontology. "They don't have some of the obvious hallmarks of herbivory seen in other dinosaurs, like beaks for slicing or cheeks to hold in food while chewing. They were obviously quite proficient at eating, though, and every skull gives us a few more pieces of the puzzle."
Together with paleontologists Brooks Britt (Brigham Young University) and Dan Chure (Dinosaur National Monument), Wilson and Whitlock compared the skulls and teeth of the new dinosaur to those of other sauropods and discovered one repeated trend throughout sauropod evolution: the development of narrow, pencil-like teeth from broad-bladed teeth.
"We know narrow-crowned teeth appear at least twice throughout sauropod history, and both times it appears to correspond to a rise in the number of species," Whitlock said. "This new animal is intermediate in terms of its tooth shape and helps us understand how and when one of these transitions occurred."
Exactly what this means for sauropod diets isn't clear, but the team has uncovered some clues.
"Narrow-crowned teeth are smaller than broad-bladed teeth, and for animals that continually replace their teeth throughout their lifetime, size can be an important factor in how fast that replacement happens," Wilson said. Faster-replacing teeth, the team thinks, are a biological response to high rates of tooth wear, possibly caused by shifts in diet or behavior.
The team has named the new dinosaur Abydosaurus mcintoshi, after Abydos, the burial place of the head and neck of the Egyptian god Osiris, and Jack McIntosh, a longtime contributor to sauropod paleontology and to paleontology at Dinosaur National Monument.
The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.More information:
Nancy Ross-Flanigan | Newswise Science News
Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences
18.01.2017 | Information Technology
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences