Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dinosaurs originated in South America

Bones found out in a New Mexico quarry indicate that the first dinosaurs appeared in what is now South America, with some migrating northward into the US as the continent began to split apart.

The 213-million-year-old fossils of prior unknown carnivorous dinosaur Tawa hallae include several of the best preserved dinosaur skeletons from the Triassic Period.Tawa was about six feet long - the size of a large dog, but with a much longer tail.

"If you have continents splitting separately, you get isolation," said lead author Sterling Nesbit of the University of Texas at Austin. "So when barriers develop, you would anticipate that multiple carnivorous dinosaurs in a region should correspond to a closely related endemic radiation. But that is what we don’t see in early dinosaur evolution."

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