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Thescelosaurus assinoboiensis - Scampering Saskatchewan Resident

Canadian scientists have announced the discovery of a new dinosaur species, a relatively fast running, Late Cretaceous member of the Ornithopods (a group of bird-hipped dinosaurs). The Maastrichtian stage fossil (66 million years old approximately), consists of parts of the skull, the pelvis and other portions of the skeleton. The new species has been named Thescelosaurus assiniboiensis after the region and the native Indians of that part of Canada.

Commenting on the discovery, Tim Tokaryk, head of Palaeontology for the Royal Saskatchewan Museum stated although the dinosaur was small there are features in the back-end of the skull, and a few features in the pelvis that are quite distinct amongst all other known species of Thescelosaurus. Based on those features, it has been made a new species.

Perhaps no more than three metres in length, this biped had to have sharp senses and a turn of speed if it was to avoid becoming a meal for the large Theropods, such as Tyrannosaurs that shared its Late Cretaceous home. With no obvious defences, running away may have been the best survival strategy for this relatively small dinosaur.

Tokaryk has also worked on Tyrannosaurus rex excavations, the research team know there were small dinosaurs around at that time because they found fragments, teeth and such like that. But to find a partial skeleton of one individual, that makes science interesting and also makes it more useful to be able to identify it as a new species or a species in general.

The specimen was collected from the Frenchman River Valley near Eastend in 1968 but was only identified recently when Caleb Brown, a master's student from the University of Calgary, studied the bones for his thesis. This seems about par for the course as the specific name for the first Thescelosaurus specimen assigned to this genus is T. neglectus a reference to the fact that these fossils were not studied until twenty-two years after they were first discovered.


Add a Comment New Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Species Discovered

Blogger Charles Weber said...

The Cretaceous ocean predators were very large. I suspect that the productivity implied by this was caused by a flow of phosphorus toward the ocean from the savannas (seasonal rainfall areas) permitted by erosion of phosphorus rich runways of plant smothering termites in the Amitermitinae starting in late Jurassic in Australia where the first ocean phosphorite deposits occurred. Anoxic conditions in the oceans were also probably caused by this. This anoxic bottom condition probably helped reduce the ammonites also, in addition to competition from phosphorus enhanced vertebrates. The savanna herbivore dinosaurs declined in armor, teeth, and quite a bit in bony structure across the Cretaceous outside of South America, especially in southeast Asia. Many even lost teeth. I suggest it was due to this same phosphorus famine created by erosion of the soil of the runways of plant smothering termites. Pterosaurs and birds probably lost teeth primarily because of the young eating iron oxide and bauxite in the flying reproductive soil borne termites’ guts, which bound the phosphates. You may see this discussed in more detail starting in http://www.angelfire.com/nc/isoptera/termites.html and its links, which links explore the possible affect that ant evolution had upon them. By the time the Cretaceous ended the world ended up with tiny savanna vertebrates, most of them mammals, which were able to give their young phosphorus in milk at that critical stage. They were a far cry from the massive, well boned Stegosaurs, etc., which roamed around the Jurassic, and had diminished tooth structure at first. They were a long time starting to increase in size (several million years).
You may see the affects on soil discussed in more detail in http://www.angelfire.com/nc/isoptera/soil.html .
Sincerely, Charles Weber

PS It is conceivable that you would also find interesting a hypothesis of my son explaining the Decca (or Deccan) lava flows as disruption of the crust by the disruption of the crust at the antipode (opposite side of a sphere) by a huge meteorite impact. You may see my version in http://charles_w.tripod.com/antipode.html .
Sincerely, Charles Weber

At September 8, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Blogger Charles Weber said...

The Cretaceous ocean predators were very large. I suspect that the productivity implied by this was caused by a flow of phosphorus toward the ocean from the savannas (seasonal rainfall areas) permitted by erosion of phosphorus rich runways of plant smothering termites in the Amitermitinae starting in late Jurassic in Australia where the first ocean phosphorite deposits occurred. Anoxic conditions in the oceans were also probably caused by this. This anoxic bottom condition probably helped reduce the ammonites also, in addition to competition from phosphorus enhanced vertebrates. The savanna herbivore dinosaurs declined in armor, teeth, and quite a bit in bony structure across the Cretaceous outside of South America, especially in southeast Asia. Many even lost teeth. I suggest it was due to this same phosphorus famine created by erosion of the soil of the runways of plant smothering termites. Pterosaurs and birds probably lost teeth primarily because of the young eating iron oxide and bauxite in the flying reproductive soil borne termites’ guts, which bound the phosphates. You may see this discussed in more detail starting in http://www.angelfire.com/nc/isoptera/termites.html and its links, which links explore the possible affect that ant evolution had upon them. By the time the Cretaceous ended the world ended up with tiny savanna vertebrates, most of them mammals, which were able to give their young phosphorus in milk at that critical stage. They were a far cry from the massive, well boned Stegosaurs, etc., which roamed around the Jurassic, and had diminished tooth structure at first. They were a long time starting to increase in size (several million years).
You may see the affects on soil discussed in more detail in http://www.angelfire.com/nc/isoptera/soil.html .
Sincerely, Charles Weber

PS It is conceivable that you would also find interesting a hypothesis of my son explaining the Decca (or Deccan) lava flows as disruption of the crust by the disruption of the crust at the antipode (opposite side of a sphere) by a huge meteorite impact. You may see my version in http://charles_w.tripod.com/antipode.html .
Sincerely, Charles Weber

At September 8, 2013 at 11:22 AM

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