Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oops! Got That One Wrong.

The Australian is reporting a story of a discovery of the fossilized partial remains of a megaraptor not where it ought to be:

The 19cm bone was found in southeastern Australia but it comes from a very close cousin to Megaraptor, a flesh-ripping monster that lorded over swathes of South American some 90 million years ago.

The extraordinary similarity between the two giant theropods adds weight to a dissident view about the breakup of a super-continent, known as Gondwana, that formed the continents of the southern hemisphere, the authors say.

The thought is that if Australia had broken away from South America when it was thought to have, then evolutionary pressures of selection and drift would have resulted in a dinosaur that had phenotypically diverged from its Australian cousins.

The investigators, led by Nathan Smith of the University of Chicago, say the two dinosaurs are so similar the two land masses of South America and Australia could not have been separated for so many millions of years beforehand.

Back to the drawing board.

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