Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Funky New Dinosaur Alert

When scientists talk about long-necked dinosaurs, it is natural to assume that they are referring to the Sauropods, animals such as Camarasaurus and Diplodocus, huge animals with long, necks and in many cases whip-like long tails. However, a recent discovery of a Stegosaur in Portugal demonstrates that when it came to long necks the Sauropods had one or two rivals. Along with the typical Stegosaur features of robust forelimbs, small head with a beak and the plates running along the back, this new Stegosaur genus had a much longer neck than any other Stegosaur known to science.

This new type of Stegosaur, named Miragaia longicollum (the long-necked creature from Miragaia - the village in Portugal where the fossilised bones were found), has nearly twice as many neck bones as some other members of the Stegosauridae.


This discovery will re-open the debate about bipedalism in Stegosaurs and may indicate an adaptation for browsing on taller vegetation compared to other Stegosaurs. Alternatively, a longer neck may have helped these animals reach into dense groves of cycads in order to feed.
Another relevant link is here, and the full paper is here.


rabbit said...

Likely an adaptation to allow the beast to lick its own genitals.

bigcitylib said...

I don't know why all animals don't have that adaption.