Fossils Suggest Gradual, Not Sudden, Rise of Dinosaurs

Brazilian discovery is first to show dinosaurs lived alongside an early ancestor, researchers say

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Buriolestes skull unearthed in Brazil. Photo: Cabreira, et. al.

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The rise of dinosaurs may have been more gradual than previously known, according to a new study.

Fossils in 230-million-year-old rock in Brazil revealed two small dinosaurs together with a lagerpetid, a group of animals that were precursors of dinosaurs, scientists reported.

It's the first time a dinosaur and lagerpetid have been found together, revealing that they lived side by side during the earliest phases of dinosaur evolution, researchers said.

The discovery was published Nov. 10 in the journal Current Biology.

"We now know for sure that dinosaurs and dinosaur precursors lived alongside one another and that the rise of dinosaurs was more gradual, not a fast overtaking of other animals of the time," said paleontologist Max Langer of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The fossils also show that the first dinosaurs likely fed on "all kinds of small animals, but most probably not plants," Langer said in a journal news release.

More information

The American Museum of Natural History has more on dinosaurs.

SOURCE: Current Biology, news release, Nov. 10, 2016

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