Hybrid Dinosaur

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National Geographic News: “New Strong-Handed Dinosaur May Shatter AssumptionsT. rex is one of the best-known dinosaurs, and among the things T. rex is known for are its almost humorously short, weak arms. Many herbivorous dinosaurs, meanwhile, had four powerful legs but no arms. But a newly discovered dinosaur appears to have been something of a hybrid: it stood on only two hind legs, like T. rex, but sported arms with powerful hands.

The dinosaur, Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis, was discovered in Arizona and was thought to have lived nearly 200 million years ago. Described as “remarkably complete,” Sarahsaurus was thought to be an herbivore, and stretched 14 feet (4.3 m) long with a long neck and a small head. Unlike previously found dinosaurs, however, Sarahsaurus had an “unusual clawed hand . . . clearly built for enormous power and leverage.”

Sarahsaurus was thought to be an herbivore.

Study leader Tim Rowe, a University of Texas–Austin paleontologist, explains, “The dogma is that these animals were herbivores, but these hands and massive claws reopen the door to what they might have been doing with them. . . . Looking at the teeth, I think . . . they may have also been scavengers and not pure herbivores.”

The find has also prompted a reworking of the prevailing theory of how sauropod dinosaurs came to “power” in the ecosystem of North America nearly (supposedly) 200 million years ago. Rather than becoming dominant because of inherent superiority, the find supports the idea that dinosaurs merely filled a gap created after other organisms became extinct.

Of course, as with so many fossil finds, the discovery of Sarahsaurus shows us how little we—both evolutionists and creationists—genuinely know about the lives and the extinction of the dinosaurs.


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