Illegal Immigrants Of The Really Old West

You know what I love about dinosaurs? Besides, literally everything about them, I mean. We have no idea how many there were, and in all likelihood, we never will. Fossilisation isn't like getting frozen in carbonite, and over the millions of years between us and them, many will have simply been ground into dust and lost to time. There are estimates that suggest we've discovered less than half of the total potential number of dinosaurs that once roamed the planet.

And because we've discovered less than half, new discoveries are being made all the time, like the fellow up top. Say hello to the newest (it's a relative term) member of the carcharodontosaurs, the Siats meekerorum. This theropod, which measured 9 metres long and weighted 4 tonnes, lived 100 million years ago in modern Utah (which was also the stomping ground - literally - of the last major discovery, though a few millions years later).

According to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Dr Lindsay Zann, the lead author on the paper describing Siats, the animal is an important find because it dates from a 30 million year blind spot in the fossil record, where the apex predators in the ancient environment shifted from the carcharodontosaurs to the tyrannosaurs. Why this shifted occurred is still a mystery. Siats is also important because it is the first of the carcharodontosaurs to be discovered in North America (the genius is one of the many examples of the giants of Gondwana).

While the description of Lythronax argestes earlier this month seemed to support the idea of an isolated Laramidia, Siats placement in this area suggests otherwise, and that for a time at least, migration from the south into what is now the American southwest was possible.

Via Geekologie.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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