Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Nagas in the News: Dino Bird
Skeletal reconstruction showing preserved elements of Gigantoraptor with 5'7 man for scale (Li Rongshan/IVPP). Inset: artist's conception.
A gigantic bird-like dinosaur weighing as much as a car towered over its relatives about 70 million years ago, a new finding suggests. The unearthed beaked dinosaur was not full-grown, yet it tipped the scales at more than 3,000 pounds. Paleontologists who discovered its remains estimate the behemoth was just 11 years old when it perished. Chinese scientists unearthed the skeletal remains of the dinosaur, now named Gigantoraptor erlianensis, in the Erlian Basin of Inner Mongolia, China. Oddly largeAt up to 16 feet tall and 26 feet long, Gigantoraptor dwarfed its relatives, a group of small, feathered theropods called Oviraptorosaurs. The hefty dinosaur weighed 35 times more than other Oviraptorosaurs.“It’s one thing to find a big dinosaur,” said Matthew Lamanna, assistant curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, “but it’s another thing to find a big dinosaur from a lineage that was thought to be small.” Lamanna was not involved in the discovery. More>>