February 17, 2009
Scientists Find Missing Dinosaur Link
A researcher said Monday that scientists have found fossil remains of an omnivorous dinosaur in Argentina, a missing link to the carnivores.
"It is an omnivore -- in other words it ate everything (plants and meat) -- which is the missing link between carnivorous dinosaurs and giant four-footed herbivores," said Oscar Alcober, also director of the Natural Sciences Museum in San Juan, 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) west of Buenos Aires.
"This is a very important piece of the puzzle on the origin of dinosaurs," said Alcober.
Chief of the museum's paleontology division, Ricardo Martinez, and Alcober found the remains threes ago in the Ischigualasto-Valle de la Luna park, north of the provincial capital San Juan. Monday they released their findings in the online journal of peer reviewed science PlosOne.org.
Argentina is famous discoveries in the 1980s, including fossils in Neuquen of the Argentinosaurus Huinculensis, the largest known herbivore at 131 ft long.
In 1993, scientists later found remains of the Giganotosaurus Carolinii, which is the largest known carnivorous dinosaur amid dozens of fossil fields still being explored.