North Carolina State University Professor Part Of Team That Has Discovered A New Dinosaur
Think you know everything about dinosaurs? Not even close. Scientists are still learning more about these creatures that roamed the earth billions of years ago. And a North Carolina State University scientist was part of a research team that recently unearthed a new, previously unknown dinosaur. Lindsay Zanno who is an associate research professor at North Carolina State University and the head of paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences was part of this research team. She was joined by Terry Gates and Haviv Avrahami, both of NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. As well as Ryan Tucker of Stellenbosch University and Peter Makovicky of the University of Minnesota.
The New Dinosaur Iani smithi
This new dinosaur is now referred to as Iani smithi. The name comes from Janus, the two-faced god who symbolized transition. According to a press release from NC State, “Iani smithi lived in what is now Utah during the mid-Cretaceous, approximately 99 million years ago.” Noteworthy features of the dinosaur include a powerful jaw structure that researchers theorize was used to cut through tough plants. Iani smithi is believed to have been a plant-eating dinosaur. The skeleton including a skull, vertebrae, and limbs was recovered in Utah’s Cedar Mountain Formation. The size of the skeleton leads the researchers including Zanno to believe it was a juvenile dinosaur.
“Finding Iani was a streak of luck. We knew something like it lived in this ecosystem because isolated teeth had been collected here and there, but we weren’t expecting to stumble upon such a beautiful skeleton, especially from this time in Earth’s history. Having a nearly complete skull was invaluable for piecing the story together,” says Lindsay Zanno.
Furthermore, it is believed that the Iani smithi could be one of the last species of dinosaurs that lived in North America. That makes this discovery an important key in understanding the changes our planet experienced. Learn more about this fascinating discovery here.
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