A new fossil find in Brazil rewrites the history of the dinosaurs

  |   Tech News

In a paper just published in Current Biology, a team led by Max Langer at the University of São Paulo reports the excavation of four fossils that shed some intriguing light on two different aspects of that question.

The fossils, found by Sergio Cabreira at the Lutheran University of Brazil, come from the Santa Maria Formation in the south of the country. One of them, at 230m years in age, is one of the oldest dinosaur fossils ever found. This specimen, named Buriolestes schultzi, is in remarkably good shape.

B. schultzi seems to have been both diminutive—about 1.5 metres long—and carnivorous. Its teeth are curved and have serrated edges, traits usually associated with meat-eating. That finding raises as many questions as it answers: palaeontologists must now ponder when and why sauropods made the switch from eating meat to eating plants. But were B. schultzi’s descendants forced to become herbivorous as they grew? Or did they switch to a vegetable diet first, then take advantage of the opportunities for growth that offered?

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