An underground den of dinosaurs now reveals the first evidence that at least one species of “terrible lizards” could burrow.The findings, detailed in the March 21 issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest dinosaurs could have endured extremes of heat or cold by finding shelter within dens of their own making. They also hint that such burrowing dinosaurs could have even survived the initial brunt of whatever eventually killed most of them off in the so-called K-T extinction some 65 million years ago.The new dinosaur species is dubbed Oryctodromeus cubicularis, or “digging runner of the lair,” explained researcher David Varricchio, a paleontologist at Montana State University. The herbivore possessed a snout that could have shoveled away dirt, as well as large shoulder bones for powerful muscles and strong hips to support the body–all traits possibly evolved for digging.This “bird-hipped” dino is a member of a large group called Ornithopids, which walked on their hind legs and left behind bird-like footprints showing spread out toes.Paleontologists first caught hints of the new dinosaur in 2004 in fragments of bone on a hillside off the shoulder of the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Montana. In 2005, they excavated the scattered… Read full this story
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