Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New carnivorous dinosaur from Madagascar raises more questions than it answers

Date:
April 18, 2013
Source:
Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology
Summary:
The first new dinosaur named from Madagascar in nearly a decade, Dahalokely tokana was a carnivore measuring 9-14 feet long. Its fossils were found in 90-million-year-old rocks of northernmost Madagascar, from the time when Madagascar and India were a single isolated land mass. Dahalokely is potentially ancestral to later dinosaurs of both regions, and shortens a 95-million-year gap in Madagascar's dinosaur fossil record by 20 million years.

Outline of Dahalokely tokana with a human for scale, showing known bones in white and missing areas patterned after related animals.
Credit: Copyright Andrew Farke and Joseph Sertich

The first new species of dinosaur from Madagascar in nearly a decade was announced today, filling an important gap in the island's fossil record.

Dahalokely tokana (pronounced "dah-HAH-loo-KAY-lee too-KAH-nah") is estimated to have been between nine and 14 feet long, and it lived around 90 million years ago. Dahalokely belongs to a group called abelisauroids, carnivorous dinosaurs common to the southern continents. Up to this point, no dinosaur remains from between 165 and 70 million years ago could be identified to the species level in Madagascar-a 95 million year gap in the fossil record. Dahalokely shortens this gap by 20 million years.

The fossils of Dahalokely were excavated in 2007 and 2010, near the city of Antsiranana (Diego-Suarez) in northernmost Madagascar. Bones recovered included vertebrae and ribs. Because this area of the skeleton is so distinct in some dinosaurs, the research team was able to definitively identify the specimen as a new species. Several unique features -- including the shape of some cavities on the side of the vertebrae -- were unlike those in any other dinosaur. Other features in the vertebrae identified Dahalokely as an abelisauroid dinosaur.

When Dahalokely was alive, Madagascar was connected to India, and the two landmasses were isolated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Geological evidence indicates that India and Madagascar separated around 88 million years ago, just after Dahalokely lived. Thus, Dahalokely potentially could have been ancestral to animals that lived later in both Madagascar and India. However, not quite enough of Dahalokely is yet known to resolve this issue. The bones known so far preserve an intriguing mix of features found in dinosaurs from both Madagascar and India.

"We had always suspected that abelisauroids were in Madagascar 90 million years ago, because they were also found in younger rocks on the island. Dahalokely nicely confirms this hypothesis," said project leader Andrew Farke, Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. Farke continued, "But, the fossils of Dahalokely are tantalizingly incomplete -- there is so much more we want to know. Was Dahalokely closely related to later abelisauroids on Madagascar, or did it die out without descendents?"

The name "Dahalokely tokana" is from the Malagasy language, meaning "lonely small bandit." This refers to the presumed carnivorous diet of the animal, as well as to the fact that it lived at a time when the landmasses of India and Madagascar together were isolated from the rest of the world.

"This dinosaur was closely related to other famous dinosaurs from the southern continents, like the horned Carnotaurus from Argentina and Majungasaurus, also from Madagascar," said project member Joe Sertich, Curator of Dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the team member who discovered the new dinosaur. "This just reinforces the importance of exploring new areas around the world where undiscovered dinosaur species are still waiting," added Sertich.

The research was funded by the Jurassic Foundation, Sigma Xi, National Science Foundation, and the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. The paper naming Dahalokely appears in the April 18, 2013, release of the journal PLOS ONE.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew A. Farke, Joseph J. W. Sertich. An Abelisauroid Theropod Dinosaur from the Turonian of Madagascar. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (4): e62047 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062047

Cite This Page:

Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. "New carnivorous dinosaur from Madagascar raises more questions than it answers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418214043.htm>.
Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. (2013, April 18). New carnivorous dinosaur from Madagascar raises more questions than it answers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418214043.htm
Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. "New carnivorous dinosaur from Madagascar raises more questions than it answers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418214043.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Where Did The World Trade Center Shipwreck Come From?

Where Did The World Trade Center Shipwreck Come From?

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Scientists say a ship remnant discovered underneath Ground Zero dates back to the 18th century. Why it sank is still uncertain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

AFP (July 29, 2014) London's "Gherkin" office tower, one of the landmarks on the British capital's skyline, went on sale for about 650 million ($1.1 billion, 820 million euros) on Tuesday after being placed into receivership. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins