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
558 million-year-old fat reveals earliest known animal
21.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
Glacial engineering could limit sea-level rise, if we get our emissions under control
20.09.2018 | European Geosciences Union
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
21.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2018 | Life Sciences
21.09.2018 | Event News