Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dinosaurs Possibly Older than First Thought

Traces of a dinosaur found a German quarry put forward the creatures may have been 15 million years older than previously believed. Dinasaurs are old and we knew that. But a new find in a limestone quarry placed in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt may explain that they are entirely 15 million years older than scientists at present believe.

Consistent with a Tuesday report in the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, a local paper in the area, archaeologists working in the quarry set up traces of a dinosaur that they believe are 250 million years old -- older than some known proof of dinosaurs. Thus far, officials from the state's Office for Preservation of Monuments and Archaeology have refused to confirm the find. A spokeswoman there has simply pointed out that the quarry is still in operation and that hobby diggers ought to stay away. The scientific group of people, though, is electrified. Should the age of the traces be confirmed, the find could shed light on the very starting of dinosaurs. One professional told the paper that the find is of "sensational value to science".

Until at present, scientists assumed that dinosaurs first evolved from archosaurs about 235 million years ago -- a good 15 million years after the creation of the dinosaur traces currently discovered. Archosaurs were lizard-like creatures that were greatly smaller than nearly all dinosaurs. Present-day alligators, crocodiles and some species of birds are as well descendents of archosaurs. Dinosaurs, although, died out some 65 million years ago. Scientists have been able to use bones, footprints, fossils, and other traces to restructure the so-called Mesozoic age, the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It is an era divided into three periods, the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous -- with the present find maybe pushing back the earliest years of the Triassic.

Digs in Germany have long been given those clues to the earliest years of dinosaur life. In truth, the first fully undamaged dinosaur skeleton discovered in the world was discovered from German soil -- the so-called Archaeopteryx, which supplied evidence of the link stuck between dinosaurs and the modern bird. Scientist Richard Owen first informed on the find in 1863, lending crucial support for Charles Darwin's then-controversial theory of progress published only two years before.


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