Monday, 14 November 2016

Dinosaurs coexisted with their predecessors, new study finds

November 14, 2016

by Chuck Bednar

A single grave containing the remains of both dinosaurs and lagerpetids, the creatures thought to have been precursors to their better-known cousins, suggests that the two families of reptiles may have coexisted for a short time, according to a newly published Current Biology study.

According to the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor, University of Sao Paulo paleontologist Max Cardoso Langer and his colleagues discovered fossils belonging to two small dinosaurs and a pair of lagerpetids together at the Santa Maria Formation in southern Brazil. Langer and his colleagues wrote that the discovery was “the first time nearly complete dinosaur and non-dinosaur dinosauromorph remains are found together in the same excavation... showing that these animals were contemporaries since the first stages of dinosaur evolution.” In fact, they believe that the two may have roamed the Earth together for nearly 30 million years.

“We previously thought that once dinosaurs appeared, they sort of out-competed and drove the other animals like lagerpetids to extinction... now we know that they were living side by side,” Langer told the Times. Both the newfound dinosaurs and the lagerpetid fossils were dated to be approximately 230 million years old, the study authors explained to the Monitor.

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