Diminutive Dinosaur from China Sheds Light on Bird Evolution
Tyrannosaurus rex, Apatosaurus and the other dinosaur giants capture the popular imagination. But paleontologists often focus on smaller fry – especially with regard to the origin of birds, which are believed to have evolved from petite, predatory dinosaurs. Researchers describe one such specimen — the partial skeleton of a previously unknown genus of chicken-size dinosaur that roamed Chinas Liaoning province nearly 130 million years ago — today in the journal Nature. According to the report, the novel beast belongs to the troodontid family of dinosaurs and suggests that certain birdlike features arose far earlier than scientists had suspected.
Dubbed Sinovenator changii, the new fossil comes from the same region that last year yielded the spectacularly complete remains of a feathered dinosaur. According to team member Peter Mackovicky of Chicagos Field Museum, Sinovenator — a close relative of the similarly aged bird Archaeopteryx — probably had feathers, too, although none are preserved in this specimen. The oldest and most primitive troodontid yet found, Sinovenator exhibits several features — its small size, for example —that do not appear in later troodontids but do appear in dromaeosaurids (close relatives of birds) and birds themselves. Troodontids, the researchers say, eventually lost these characteristics as they became bigger.
“It demonstrates that major structural modifications toward birds occurred much earlier in the evolutionary process than previously thought,” Mackovicky asserts. “Furthermore, these findings help counter, once and for all, the position of paleontologists who argue that birds did not evolve from dinosaurs.”
Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences
Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.
Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.
Scientists achieve higher precision weak force measurement between protons, neutrons
Through a one-of-a-kind experiment at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, nuclear physicists have precisely measured the weak interaction between protons and neutrons. The result quantifies the weak…
High-performance single-atom catalysts for high-temperature fuel cells
Individual Pt atoms participate in catalytic reaction to faciitate the electrode process by up to 10 times. Single-atom Pt catalysts are stable at 700 degrees Celsius and expected to stimulate…