Despite being dead for, oh, 65 million years or so, dinosaurs still turn up in the darnedest places. Mainly museums, of course, but even there, the dusty shelves can still be full of surprises, as New Scientist reports:
PhD student Mike Taylor spotted a fossil vertebra, which he says “leapt out” at him as being entirely unfamiliar. What makes it startling is that the fossil had been sitting in the museum’s archives for over a century, ever since it was unearthed in the 1890s.
The species has now been named Xenoposeidon proneneukus.
Slightly farther afield, palaeontologists are oohing and ahhing over another new dinosaur discovery, the utterly bizarre vacuum mouth of Nigersaurus. As National Geographic reveals:
Research into the 30-foot-long (9-meter-long) sauropod has shown the dinosaur to have a range of extreme adaptations.
These include a broad, square-edged muzzle tipped with 500 to 600 replaceable teeth that were used like scissors to shear off vegetation—mostly ferns and horsetails.
The team’s findings suggest the dinosaur’s head faced downward, at a right angle to the neck.
“That made a lot of sense given the shape of the muzzle—it was mowing down plants along the ground,” Sereno said.
Now, scientists think a lot of other long-necked sauropods – like the mighty Diplodocus – might have spent their lives looking down as well.
Take a look at the curious creature in an artist’s rendering or a close-up photo of its garden-shear mouth, or browse a wide selection of frankly peculiar prehistoric animals.