2009 has brought forth great new discoveries of dinosaur variety and behavior, throughout the globe. In a startling find, scientists uncovered the remains of a new species of Pleosaurus, the largest sea dinosaur of the Jurrasic period. This monster of the oceans was 50 feet long, with a skull more than 10 feet, and jaws so large, it could have swallowed a great white shark whole. It lived 147 million years ago.
And at a recent proceedings of the Royal Society B., paleontologists described a new dinosaur Aardonyx Velestae, which belonged to the family of the Sauopodomorphes. Nearly 30 feet in height, the Sauopodomorphs were the largest animals that ever walked the earth, larger than their descendants the Sauropods. They lived 200-183 million years ago, and were herbivores.
A dinosauer, believed to be one of the smallest in North America was discovered earlier this year in North America. The Fruitaden grew to the size of a large squirrel, and weighed about 2 pounds. It is now considered the smallest known Ornithischian. It lived 150 million years ago.
Down under in Australia, scientists discovered footprints of a large dinosaur, embedded in what they believe was a dried riverbed. The tracks date from the Cretaceous period when Australia was joined to Antarctica and demonstrate that one species of dinosaur had evolved the capability to live in a polar environment.
2009 has also seen the emergence of important breakthroughs in understanding the life habits of dinosaurs. Making shrewd guesses from available evidence, an international team co-led by Ewan D.S. Wolff of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, turned up evidence that the huge and fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex, engaged in deadly adolescent games to prepare themselves for adulthood. One teenager, “Jane” was bit through the snout, and lived with severe disfigurement during her foreshortened life. Earlier in the year, scientists announced the results of a study of another T. Rex, “Sue,” who had died from starvation secondary to severe infection after suffering
More evidence of unusual dinosaur behavior turned up in Utah. After years of study of a vast collection of broken bones at Arches National Park in Southern Utah, a researcher from Brigham University concluded the bones were smashed and broken when a large herd of plant eating dinosaurs trampled over the bodies of their fellow dinosaurs that had already died during a long drought. Perhaps the reptiles had collected at one of the few remaining water holes, before they died.
This year’s dinosaur discoveries were capped off by a Professor in India who has speculated that a huge crater scar off the coast of India, may have been the site of a catastrophic asteroid collision with the Earth, which ended the reign of the pre-historic giants. His theory is not taken seriously, however, because another large above ground crater site is believed to be a much more likely site of an event that may indeed have brought a swift end to the ages when these great primordial creatures dominated the globe.