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Science and Technology


New dinosaur provides clues to ancient diversity
The only reason we know anything about Acrotholus audeti is because his think skull weathered 85 million years of erosion
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


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Jeff St. Clair
 
Acrotholus audeti, or "high dome" from Roy Audet's ranch in Alberta, Canada, is a dog-sized dinosaur known only from its thick skull bone. Michael Ryan with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History says small dinosaurs like this are underrepresented in museum collections because their bones are rarely discovered.
Courtesy of Julius Csotonyi
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A new dinosaur discovery is helping scientists in Cleveland re- imagine the ancient world.

WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports, dinosaurs weren’t all giants.

 

Discovering dinosaur diversity

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The new dinosaur, discovered in the badlands of Alberta, Canada was a real ‘bone-head.’ That's according to paleontologist Michael Ryan at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. 

“It had this large blocky head with this large dome that looked like half a bowling ball stuck on top of it.”

And that durable thick dome is the only bone we have from the dog-sized Acrotholus audeti.  Ryan says there were probably many similarly small dinosaurs that we don’t know about because their bones haven’t survived.

“The fossil record is biased in terms of finding the bones of heavy large animals.”

He estimates that one fourth of dinosaurs living during the time of familiar giants like T. rex and Triceratops may have been small creatures like Acrotholus.  Ryan and his co-authors describe this hidden diversity in the latest edition of Nature Communications

(Click image for larger view.)

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