dinosaur museum

February 2017 Newsletter

I have just returned from a vacation to California where I had a delightful time even if it did rain the entire time except for one day which was gorgeous! Funny as it sounds I have not been warm since I left Colorado. I am glad to be back and hope to see everyone for our upcoming events.
Researchers have discovered that a species of dinosaur, Limusaurus inextricabilis, lost its teeth in adolescence and did not grow another set as adults. The finding, published in Current Biology, is a radical change in anatomy during a lifespan and may help to explain why birds have beaks but no teeth. The team studied 19 Limusaurus skeletons which ranged in age from baby to adult showing the pattern of tooth loss over time. The baby skeleton had small, sharp teeth, and the adult skeletons were consistently toothless. It is very rare to find a growth series from baby to adult dinosaurs and this unusually dramatic change in anatomy suggests there was a big shift in their diet from adolescence to adulthood. This dinosaur is part of the theropod group of dinosaurs, the evolutionary ancestors of birds. These fossils indicate that the baby Limusaurus could have been carnivores or omnivores while the adults were herbivores, as they would have needed teeth to chew meat but not plants.

Geri Lebold
Education Director

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