Fossils discovered in Tanzania in the 1930s have helped identify a “missing link” in dinosaur evolution that reveals their ancestors had long necks, walked on four legs and looked like crocodiles.
The 245-million-year-old fossils held in Britain’s Natural History Museum were studied by palaeontologist Alan Charig in the 1950s.
But they were incomplete and it was only more fossils found in Tanzania in 2015 that helped build up the skeleton of “Teleocrator rhadinus”.
“The finding forces a rethink of early dinosaur evolution,” the journal Nature, where the research was published on Wednesday, said in a summary.
“The discovery of such an important new species is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Sterling Nesbitt, one of the authors and an assistant professor of geosciences at Virginia Tech in the US.
The international research project focuses on the evolution of a large group of reptiles called archosaurs into two branches: crocodiles and birds.
Dinosaurs evolved from the bird branch but the scientists found Teleocrators, which were already extinct by the time dinosaurs appeared, kept crocodile features and did not conform to a classic conception of early forms of dinosaur.
“Teleocrator has unexpectedly crocodile-like features that are causing us to completely reassess what we thought about the earliest stages of dinosaur evolution,” said Ken Angielczyk, another author who is the associate curator of fossil mammals at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
“Surprisingly, early dinosaur relatives were pretty profoundly not dinosaur-like,” he said.
“Scientists generally don’t love the term ‘missing link’ but that’s kind of what Teleocrater is: a missing link between dinosaurs and the common ancestor they share with crocodiles,” he said.
Paul Barrett at the Natural History Museum said: “My colleague Alan Charig would have been thrilled to see one of ‘his’ animals finally being named and occupying such an interesting position in the Tree of Life.
“Our discovery shows the value of maintaining and re-assessing historical collections: many new discoveries, like this one, can be made by looking through museum collections with fresh eyes,” he said.
Trump admin dropped the ball on Pentagon’s offer to deliver thousand of ventilators: report
According to a CNN report this Tuesday, the Defense Department offered two weeks ago to make thousands of ventilators available, but the Trump administration failed to take them up on the offer.
After offering to send 2,000 ventilators to FEMA and HHS, the Pentagon never got the go-ahead to ship them off or any sort of directions on where to send them to.
CNN reports that the Defense Department also made its testing labs available, but still hasn't heard back from the White House.
Read the full report over at CNN.
‘Let’s not be silly!’ Kellyanne Conway barks at reporter for undermining her ‘bunker’ attack on Biden
White House aide Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday defended her assertion that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden owed President Donald Trump a call to the White House instead of criticizing the government's pandemic response from his "bunker."
During a gaggle outside the White House, Conway was asked why she had slammed Biden during an appearance on Fox & Friends earlier that morning.
"I find it to be petty and a tinge of partisanship and completely unhelpful to the American population to have a former vice president who was here for eight years in his bunker in Wilmington just lobbing criticisms," Conway said of her attack on Biden.
Biden says ‘hard to envision’ Democratic convention taking place in July as Sanders vows to stay in race
The two remaining contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination made their comments on separate late night tv appearances.
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday night said he found it "hard to envision" the Democratic National Convention scheduled for July going forward as planned as his rival for the party's 2020 presidential nomination Sen. Bernie Sanders declared that in his mind, the race is still far from over.