Wednesday, 18 March 2015

New species of aetosaur discovered in North Carolina

Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

Researchers have discovered a new species of aetosaur, a distant relative of the crocodile which roamed the Earth more than 200 million years ago in one of the most unlikely places: Raleigh, North Carolina.

According to the Jefferson Post, the armor plates were discovered and identified by Dr. Andrew B. Heckert, a professor at the Appalachian State University Department of Geology, and a team of experts from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. They documented the creature as a new genus and species of aetosaur, and named it Gorgetosuchus pekinensis.

“Aetosaurs are an extinct group of reptiles from the Triassic period from the lineage that eventually evolved into crocodiles,” Dr. Heckert, who was lead author of the recently-published paper, told the Asheville Citizen-Times on Saturday. “They were not dinosaurs, but superficially look like some of the much larger armored dinosaurs that would evolve later.”

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