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Press Release 10-017

Dinosaur Discovery Helps Solve Piece of Evolutionary Puzzle

Scientists' find describes how one family of dinosaurs came to look like birds--independent of birds

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Photo of paleontologist and the words Audio Slideshow.

See the alvarezsaur excavation in this audio slideshow.

Credit: Lisa Raffensperger, National Science Foundation

 

Illustration showing a comparison of dentition and arms of Allosaurus with two bird-like dinosaurs.

It is interesting to compare the dentition and arms of these three dinosaurs. Allosaurus, or a T. rex-like dinosaur, had sharp pointy teeth. The Alvarezsaur, Haplocheirus, had many shorter teeth, and the most bird-like dinosaur of the group, Shuvuuia, had reduced peg-like dentition. Also note the three claws of roughly equal size of the Allosaurus, the thick short thumb and two skinny fingers of Haplocheirus, and the completely reduced single digit of Shuvuuia.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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Reconstruction of the dinosaur Haplocheirus sollers, whose name means simple, skillful hand.

Reconstruction of the dinosaur Haplocheirus sollers, whose name means simple, skillful hand.

Credit: Portia Sloan


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Photos and illustrations of Haplocheirus sollers, a new alvarezsauroid dinosaur discovered in China.

The skeleton of Haplocheirus sollers, a new alvarezsauroid dinosaur discovered in China, is shown.

Credit: X. Xu, J. Choiniere


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Photo showing individual bones of  Haplocheirus sollers: shoulder girdle (a,b), arm (c-f), hand (g).

Individual bones of Haplocheirus sollers: shoulder girdle (a,b), arm (c-f), hand (g).

Credit: J. Choiniere


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Photo of paleontologists uncovering a Haplocheirus sollers skeleton in China.

Paleontologists uncover a Haplocheirus sollers skeleton in China.

Credit: J. Clark


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Photo of Jonah Choiniere excavating a sediment block in a sandstorm in China.

Jonah Choiniere excavates a sediment block in a sandstorm in China.

Credit: J. Clark


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Photo showing the excavation of a dinosaur skeleton by paleontologists.

Excavating dinosaur skeletons is slow, painstaking work for paleontologists.

Credit: J. Clark


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Cover of the January 29, 2010, issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' findings appear in the Jan. 29 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2010


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