New Species May Provide Missing Link in Dinosaur Evolution

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - What's being called a possible missing link on the dinosaur family tree has been introduced in South Africa.

Paleontologist Adam Yates told reporters in Johannesburg the dinosaur (Aardonyx celestae) from 200 million years ago was a 23-foot-long, half-ton herbivore with a huge barrel chest. It stood on its hind legs, but could also function on all fours.

He said the new species has similar attributes to such later dinosaurs as sauropods, or brontosaurs, that grew to massive sizes and lived on all fours with long necks and whip-like tails.

The new species was discovered five years ago by a post graduate
student digging in two separate sites in South Africa.

British paleontologist Paul Barrett said its discovery could help fill gaps in learning how a two-legged animal could evolve into one that spent its life on all fours.

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