Friday, December 31, 2010

Was new Utah dinosaur a brainiac?

Utah's State Paleontologist Jim Kirkland is co-author of a recent paper in the online journal PLos ONE describing the eighth new dinosaur species discovered in the state this year. Geminiraptor suarezarum's skull is six times larger than other dinosaurs, suggesting it might have evolved into a highly intelligent creature if it had not gone extinct. The dino also had other unique features, including an inflatable upper jaw bone and feathers on its arms and legs according to a post on the Utah Geological Survey blog. [right, Maxilla of Geminiraptor suarezarum. Credit, PLos ONE]

Ref: Senter P, Kirkland JI, Bird J, Bartlett JA (2010) A New Troodontid Theropod Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Utah. PLoS ONE 5(12): e14329. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014329

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