September 14, 2011
Dinosaur Hatchling From 110 Million Years Ago Discovered
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine recently described a fossil of an armored dinosaur hatchling.
The hatching lived approximately 110 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous Era and is a nodosaur.
"Now we can learn about the development of limbs and the development of skulls early on in a dinosaur's life," David Weishampel, Ph.D., a professor of anatomy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a press release.
The fossil was discovered in 1997 by Ray Stanford, a dinosaur tracker. He identified it was a nodosaur and called Weishampel and his colleagues to help established the fossil's identity.
The researchers performed a computer analysis of the skull shape and confirmed it was the youngest nodosaur ever found.
"The very small size also reveals that there was a nearby nesting area or rookery, since it couldn't have wandered far from where it hatched," Weishampel said in a press release.
According to the team, it is the first hatchling of any dinosaur species ever recovered in the eastern U.S.
"We didn't know much about hatchling nodosaurs at all prior to this discovery," Weishampel said in a press release. "And this is certainly enough to motivate more searches for dinosaurs in Maryland, along with more analysis of Maryland dinosaurs."
The discovery was reported in the September 9 issue of Journal of Paleontology.
On the Net: