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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Crocodile-Snouted Dinosaur Discovered Down Under
14 June 2011 7:01 pm
More than 100 million years ago, Australia was home to a unique blend of predatory dinosaurs. The latest to be added to the mix—thanks to a single neck vertebra (pictured above) that was found in Victoria and described today in Biology Letters—is a bizarre class of crocodile-snouted carnivores called spinosaurs. These peculiar dinosaurs have previously been found in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, and the Australian fossil closely resembles a spinosaur known as Baryonyx from England. Combined with other fragmentary skeletons attributed to tyrannosaurs, raptors, and allosaurs, this as-yet-unnamed spinosaur may help paleontologists figure out when different dinosaur lineages arrived in Australia and, consequently, when and how the continent split from other land masses 80 million years ago. Prior to that time, all the southern continents were merged in a supercontinent known as Gondwana, and the new find—combined with other dino discoveries that indicate that Australian dinosaurs more closely resemble their counterparts in South America rather than Africa—suggests that Africa may have been the first to split off.
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