Wednesday, May 04, 2005

SCIENTISTS HAVE DISCOVERED fossilized remains of a previously unknown type of dinosaur -- dubbed Falcarius utahensis -- that is being hailed as a "missing link" between meat-eating and plant-eating dinosaurs. This is a very significant find, because it is direct evidence of the evolutionary process. The remains were discovered in Utah.

The researchers' findings were published in Nature today.

Fossil-hunters working in the dusty Utah desert have caught a dinosaur in the act of going vegetarian. The newly discovered species, which lived about 130 million years ago, displays the hallmarks of adapting to a leafy diet.

The species, christened Falcarius utahensis, belongs to a dinosaur group called the therizinosauroids. These are mostly thought to have been plant eaters. But the recently discovered fossil, the most primitive therizinosauroid found so far, seems to have survived on a mixed diet of meat and veg.

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