(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists have described a fossilized jaw with one surviving tooth, which belonged to a previously unknown science type of lizard, presumably belonging to the dromaeosaurid family.
According to Phys.org, a fossil jawbone was discovered in northern Alaska, in the Prince Creek Formation. This region is replete with dinosaur fossils. However, the newly discovered small fragment of the jaw is an extremely rare discovery. You can learn more about it in the PLOS ONE magazine.
The analysis showed that the jaw belonged to a young individual. This was probably a member of the Dromaeosaurids family, a group of carnivorous dinosaurs closely related to birds. The most famous representatives of this family are velociraptor and dromaeosaurus.
These pangolins inhabited all over the world. However, their bones were so thin that they were rarely preserved in fossils. This makes it difficult to understand the ways of their settlement on the planet. It is difficult to even identify dromaeosaurids, since only teeth usually remain from them.
So in this case only a fragment of the lower jaw with a length of only 14 mm with a single tooth was preserved. The find is about 70 million years old. This is the first known fossilized dromaeosaurid found in the Arctic.
Analysis showed that this bone belongs to a close relative of the small North American predatory dinosaurs of the Saurornitholestes species. However, it was some other kind. It is believed that North American dromaeosaurids originate from Asia. Alaska could be a key region for their resettlement.
A new fossil may help to know which species of dromaeosaurids inhabited this region, which is important from the point of view of paleontology. In addition, it was still believed that Alaska was a kind of migration corridor for predatory dinosaurs. Scientists assumed that the dinosaurs got there from Asia and in transit went south.
However, this dromaeosaurid was a cub. This indicates that some dinosaurs inhabited and reproduced in the Arctic. The authors suggest that future research results will provide a more complete understanding of these mysterious Arctic dromaeosaurids.
“There are places where dinosaur fossils are so widespread that a small piece of bone cannot add anything to previous scientific evidence, but this does not apply to the Alaskan model,” said study co-author Alessandro Chiarenza of Imperial College London. “Even with such an incomplete jaw fragment our team was able to find out the evolutionary relationships of this dinosaur, as well as obtain information about the biology of these animals. Ultimately, this will help us get more detailed data about the ancient Arctic ecosystem. ”
By the way, the remains of dinosaurs in the Far North were first discovered only a few years ago. That find immediately turned the idea of ancient dinosaurs upside down. Since then, there has been debate about whether the Arctic was a transit route of migration or a permanent habitat for dinosaurs. The new discovery provides a strong argument in favor of the proponents of the second of these theories.
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