martes, 13 de marzo de 2012

Científicos canadienses identifican dos nuevas especies de dinosaurios que podrían ayudar a llenar los vacíos evolutivos


Un equipo de cinco científicos canadienses ha identificado dos nuevas especies de dinosaurios a partir de los famosos yacimientos de fósiles del sur de Alberta.

Uno de los yacimientos está al este de Calgary y el otro cerca de la frontera de Alberta con Montana. Los fósiles fueron desenterrados hace años.

Investigadores liderados por el científico canadiense Michael Ryan, ahora miembro del equipo de paleontología de vertebrados en el Museo de Historia Natural de Cleveland, distinguen los dos fósiles de especies similares "leptoceratopsid" de Canadá y Asia

Unescoceratops (superior derecha) y Gryphoceratops (parte inferior izquierda) en la ilustración.

El Gryphoceratops morrisoni, vivió hace unos 83 millones de años - es uno de los más antiguos de su tipo, lo que sugiere que las principales novedades evolutivas y una diversificación importante en el la familia se desarrolló el leptoceratopsid en la era del Cretácico en Canadá.

"Estos dinosaurios llenan los vacíos importantes en la historia evolutiva de los dinosaurios con cuernos que no cuentan con cuernos grandes y los volantes de los familiares como el triceratops de América del Norte"

A pesar de los dinosaurios con cuernos se originaron en Asia, el análisis sugiere que leptoceratopsids de América del Norte se diversificó aquí, con la nueva especie, gryphoceratops, siendo el registro más antiguo del grupo en este continente".

Los otros investigadores que participan en los descubrimientos son el paleontólogo David Evans, del Museo Real de Ontario y la Universidad de Toronto, el legendario Philip Currie de la Universidad de Alberta, Universidad de Toronto, el científico Caleb Brown, y Don Brinkman del Museo Real de Alberta Tyrrell de Paleontología.

Fue Currie, que, en 1995, descubrió la mandíbula fosilizada de una especie previamente desconocida de dinosaurio con cuernos Descrita por primera vez por Currie y Ryan en 1998, el fósil ha sido identificado como una especie diferente y nombrado Unescoceratops koppelhusae.

El dinosaurio herbívoro, que habría tenido al menos de dos metros de largo y pesaba alrededor de 90 kg, habitada la antigua Alberta hace 75 millones de años.

Los restos fósiles de Gryphoceratops morrisoni fueron encontrados en 1950 en el sur de Alberta por Levi Sternberg, un científico de renombre. El nombre hace referencia al grifo, una figura mitológica con cuerpo de león y la cabeza de un águila, y la ROM técnico de Ian Morrison.

La identificación de las dos nuevas especies se detalla en el último número de la revista académica de Investigación del Cretácico.



Canadá.com

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