A new species of dinosaur from the T-rex family has been discovered in Australia. Paleontologists believe that the dinosaur lost its teeth as it aged.
A team of paleontologists discovered, in Australia, a new species of dinosaur from the same family as the famous Tyrannosaurus rex and the Velociraptor. The creature had some different characteristics from the T-rex, since it had no teeth, had a long neck and an unusual diet.
As far as scientists are concerned, only the youngest specimens had teeth. As they grew, they lost their teeth, leaving them with a pointed beak. This suggests that they would be carnivores when they were young, but would evolve to a more vegetarian diet as they got older.
"These are some of the most intriguing theropod dinosaurs, as they are known to these few fossils," he told the The Guardian Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, who did not participate in the study. "They appear to have been lightly built, fast-running, long-necked theropods that changed the carnivorous diet of their ancestors and became omnivores."
At just two meters, the dinosaur had some characteristics common to its family. He walked on two feathers, had two small arms and could even have feathers, writes the New Atlas.
Without yet having an official name for the species, experts named the specimen “Eric”, in honor of the place where it was discovered: Eric the Red West, in Victoria, Australia.
The team of paleontologists identified this new species through a single bone in Eric's neck, discovered in 2015. This means that experts are not sure about the conclusions drawn. The bone was only 5 centimeters long and was thought to belong to a pterosaur.
"The vertebrae in the neck of pterosaurs are very distinctive," explains Adele Pentland, author of the study published this month in the scientific journal Gondwana Research. “In all known pterosaurs, the body of the vertebra has a cavity at the end of the head and a ball at the end of the body. This vertebra had cavities at both ends, so it couldn't have been a pterosaur. ”