The hands of a newly discovered dinosaur species provide fresh support for the notion that birds are closely related to dinosaurs, researchers say. Many paleontologists contend that theropods--a group of bipedal dinosaurs that, with rare exception, dined on meat--didn't die out 65 million years ago with the rest of their kin. Analyses, those scientists say, show that this group gave rise to modern-day birds. But hard-core skeptics of that theory have long noted that the bone arrangement in birds' wings doesn't match that in the hands of dinosaurs, says James M. Clark of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Now, fossils of a new theropod species, dubbed Limusaurus inextricabilis (shown in an artist's illustration), reveal that some theropods indeed had birdlike hand-bone arrangements (inset). L. inextricabilis lived in China about 159 million years ago and was probably a vegetarian, Clark and his colleagues report in the June 18 Nature. This theropod had a beak and stomach stones--rocks swallowed to grind vegetation and aid digestion. "It turns out there were many ways to be a theropod," says Thomas R. Holtz Jr. of the University of Maryland in College Park.
Perkins, Sid. "Bird in the hand." Science News 18 July 2009: 12. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Dec. 2009.
Gale Document Number:A204319427
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