Tawa Hallae Dinosaur Fossils Provide Evolutionary Insight

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 11 (UPI) — The fossilized bones of a dinosaur found in New Mexico provide insight into the evolution of the bird-like meat-eating theropods, scientists said.

“This new dinosaur Tawa hallae changes our understanding of the relationships of early dinosaurs and provides fantastic insight into the evolution of the skeleton of the first carnivorous dinosaurs,” said Randall Irmis of the Utah Museum of Natural History.

T. hallae, about the size of a large dog but with a much longer tail, roamed about 213 million years ago, Irmis said. The bones of five to seven T. hallae skeletons were found in recent years in a quarry in Ghost Ranch, N.M.

T. hallae is early form of theropod from which the T. Rex and modern birds developed. T. hallae’s had hallow bones, as modern birds, but was more lizard-like than birdlike in some of its characteristics, Irmis said in a release Thursday.

T. hallae was named after the Hopi word for Puebloan sun god and for Ruth Hall, the late amateur paleontologist whose fossil collection is housed at the Ruth Hall Museum in Ghost Ranch, N.M.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Animals, Birds
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