Discovery News: Surprise! Not all stegosaurs had short necks

Vertebrate paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs, a professor in Dedman College‘s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, is quoted in Discovery News online in the February 25 story “Long-Necked Stegosaur Defies Reputation.”

Jacobs is known for his work documenting changes in fossil mammals in Pakistan, which helps scholars correlate climatic changes with evolutionary changes seen in animals, and which helps calibrate the rate of DNA evolution in mammals. He’s also credited for discovery of what’s now known as “Malawisaurus,” a plant-eating dinosaur that lived in Malawi, Africa, 115 million years ago.

Excerpt

By Jennifer Viegas
Discovery News

The classic image of a stegosaur calls to mind a grazing beast with short legs and a short neck, but a newly discovered species from Portugal was found to have one of the longest necks ever recorded for a dinosaur, relative to overall body size, according to a new study.

“Miragaia longicollum,” meaning “long-necked wonderful goddess of the Earth,” had more neck vertebrae than almost any other dinosaur, tying the record previously set by three Chinese sauropods, the study found.

Octavio Mateus, who led the research, told Discovery News that the new species and other stegosaurs were four-legged plant eaters “with a row of plates and spines along the body from the neck to the tail.” One swift swing of the tail could jab the sharp spines into would-be attackers. …

Louis Jacobs, director of the Shuler Museum of Paleontology at Southern Methodist University, told Discovery News that the new study “is quite interesting because it shows a body form, and by inference, an ecological diversity among stegosaurs that was not suspected before.”

Read the full story

Related links:
Louis Jacobs
Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences
Dedman College

This entry was posted in Plants & Animals, Researcher news and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Margaret Allen

EA-PubAffairs(Periodicals)