Saturday, August 6, 2011

New species of Dinosaur found in India

U.S. and Indian scientists said Wednesday they have exposed a new carnivorous dinosaur species in India after finding bones in the western part of the country. The new species of dinosaur was named Rajasaurus narmadensis, or "Regal reptile from the Narmada," after the Narmada River region where the bones were found. The dinosaurs were between 25-30 feet long, had a horn above their skulls, were comparatively heavy and walked on two legs, scientists said. They preyed on long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs on the Indian subcontinent for the Cretaceous period at the end of the dinosaur age, 65 million years ago.

"It's tremendous to be able to see this dinosaur which lived as the age of dinosaurs came to a close," said Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago. "It was an important predator that was related to species on continental Africa, Madagascar and South America."A model of the assembled skull was presented Wednesday by the American scientists to their counterparts from Punjab University in northern India and the Geological Survey of India in a Bombay news conference.

Scientists said they expect the discovery will help explain the extinction of the dinosaurs and the shifting of the continents - how India separated from Africa, Madagascar, Australia and Antarctica and collided with Asia. The dinosaur bones were discovered throughout the past 18 years by Indian scientists Suresh Srivastava of the Geological Survey of India and Ashok Sahni, a paleontologist at Punjab University.

When the bones were scrutinized, "we realized we had a partial skeleton of an undiscovered species," Sereno said. The scientists said they consider the Rajasaurus roamed the Southern Hemisphere land masses of present-day Madagascar, Africa and South America. "People don't understand dinosaurs are the only large-bodied animal that lived, evolved and died at a time when all continents were united," Sereno said.

The cause of the dinosaurs' death is still debated by scientists. The Rajasaurus discovery may give crucial clues, Sereno said. India has seen quite a few paleontological discoveries newly. In 1997, villagers exposed about 300 fossilized dinosaur eggs in Pisdura, 440 miles northeast of Bombay that Indian scientists said were laid by four-legged, long-necked vegetarian creatures. Indian scientists said the dinosaur embryos in the eggs may have suffocated at the period of volcanic eruptions.

1 comment:

  1. This is not a new taxon, it is rather just an individual of the already named Rajasaurus.