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More small meat-eating dinosaurs than thought

Date:
January 23, 2013
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Researchers used fossilized teeth to identify at least 23 species of small meat-eating dinosaurs.

Summary of quantitative morphotypes showing their stratigraphic ages.
Credit: Derek W. Larson, Philip J. Currie. Multivariate Analyses of Small Theropod Dinosaur Teeth and Implications for Paleoecological Turnover through Time. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (1): e54329 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054329

University of Alberta researchers used fossilized teeth to identify at least 23 species of small meat-eating dinosaurs that roamed western Canada and the United States, 85 to 65 million years ago.

Until now, only seven species of small two-legged meat-eating dinosaurs from the North American west had been identified.

U of A palaeontologist Philip Currie and student Derek Larson examined a massive dataset of fossil teeth that included samples from members of the families to which Velociraptor and Troodon (possibly the brainiest dinosaur) belong.

"Small meat-eating dinosaur skeletons are exceedingly rare in many parts of the world and, if not for their teeth, would be almost completely unknown," said Larson.

The researchers say the huge increase in the number of small meat-eating species to 23, shows that instead of a few species existing for many millions of years, there were actually many small meat-eating species, each existing for shorter periods of time.

"We can identify what meat-eaters lived in what geographic area or geologic age," explained Currie. "And we can do this by identifying just their teeth, which are far more common than skeletons."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Derek W. Larson, Philip J. Currie. Multivariate Analyses of Small Theropod Dinosaur Teeth and Implications for Paleoecological Turnover through Time. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (1): e54329 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054329

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "More small meat-eating dinosaurs than thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123195356.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2013, January 23). More small meat-eating dinosaurs than thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123195356.htm
University of Alberta. "More small meat-eating dinosaurs than thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130123195356.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

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