Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Utah and China dinosaur bones share ancient connection

Therizinosauroid Carnivory Herbivory Mandible Neck Teeth (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)From The Slat Lake Tribune, Utah: Even when digging for dinosaurs in the sweltering summer heat of Utah's badlands, Jim Kirkland's thoughts often drift to China.

Many ancient bones found in Utah share an ancient connection to finds coming out of China. Kirkland, Utah's state paleontologist, is wrapping up a two-week trip to China to help put some of his Utah discoveries into better context.

...One of Utah's more famous recent finds (1), the bird-like Falcarius utahensis (pictured above), has relatives in China. During the Cretaceous era, a period from 144 to 65 million years ago that included Falcarius, western North American and China were connected.

Jerry Harris, a Dixie State College paleontologist with Chinese research connections, said comparing finds in Utah and China could answer important questions about the evolution of dinosaurs. All sorts of ancient life likely moved in both directions between China and western North America. [Dinosaur, Discovery, James, Palaeontology, Paleontology]

(1) See "Killer Dinos Turned Vegetarian" from the Utah Geological Society (UGS) and its associated paper in the journal Nature "A primitive therizinosauroid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Utah" (Abstract | Full Text)

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