Dinosaurs' rise was 'more gradual,' new fossil evidence suggests
Researchers have discovered two small dinosaurs together with a lagerpetid, a group of animals that are recognized as precursors of dinosaurs. The discovery made in Brazil and reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology represents the first time that a dinosaur and a dinosaur precursor have ever been found together.
|The skull of Buriolestes [Credit: Cabreira et al.]|
"We now know for sure that dinosaurs and dinosaur precursors lived alongside one another and that the rise of dinosaurs was more gradual, not a fast overtaking of other animals of the time," says Max Langer of Brazil's Universidade de Sao Paulo.
Those details help to reveal how dinosaurs acquired some of their characteristic anatomical traits. Their analysis also suggests that Buriolestes is one of the oldest known Sauropodomorpha, the group of long-necked dinosaurs that includes sauropods.
Source: Cell Press [November 10, 2016]