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Near perfect dinosaur fossil unearthed in Germany

Most of the time, if you’re lucky enough to find any dinosaur bones at all, it’s a piece here, a piece there, a fragment here, a fragment there and it’s up to a paleontologist to slowly and meticulously assemble the remains into something coherent. And then, if you’re impossibly lucky, you’ll find something like the above young theropod that’s 98% intact, including some hair (proto-feathers) and skin.

Darren Naish, palaeontologist at the University of Southampton, says the fossil is “incredible”. Rauhut says that fossils of theropod dinosaurs, which include the genus Tyrannosaurus, are rare and usually fragmented. “The best-preserved Tyrannosaurus we have are about 80 percent preserved, and that is already terrific,” he says. The new fossil is around 98% intact.

The dinosaur died around 135 million years ago at a site near the present town of Kelheim in the southern German state of Bavaria. Rauhut and his team of palaeontologists think it was no more than a year old.

Naish hopes that the bone preservation in the fossil is as outstanding as it looks in the publically-released photo, because this might help scientists piece together the phylogeny of theropod species. No data is available on the fossil yet, so Naish can only speculate, but he says the dinosaur seems to have proportionally shorter legs, and a longer tail, than have been seen in other similar theropods. Particularly tantalising is the question of whether these differences are attributable to the dinosaur being a juvenile, or if it might be an example of a new species.

“There have been recent suggestions that some juvenile dinosaurs were so anatomically different to adults that they occupied different ecological niches,” says Naish. “Dinosaur species diversity seems to have been lower than might be expected, and one reason for this could be that individuals of a single species occupied multiple different niches over their lifetimes.” He says this new specimen might provide insights into this evolutionary possibility.

Via


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    This is AMAZING! Can’t wait to get more info on him!
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    Trop génial!
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    … It looks like this is what he was doing at the end:
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