Sunday, February 22, 2009

Missing T-Rex link found in Argentina

A woman inspects the head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur sculpture in 2007 at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, southern Germany. Scientists have found fossil remains of an omnivorous dinosaur in Argentina -- a missing link to the carnivores, a researcher said Monday.

"It is an omnivore -- in other words it ate everything (plants and meat) -- which is the missing link between carnivorous dinosaurs and giant four-footed herbivores," said Oscar Alcober, also director of the Natural Sciences Museum in San Juan, 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) west of Buenos Aires.

"This is a very important piece of the puzzle on the origin of dinosaurs," said Alcober.

Alcober and Ricardo Martinez, chief of the museum's paleontology division, found the remains three years ago in the Ischigualasto-Valle de la Luna park, north of the provincial capital San Juan. They released their findings Monday in the online journal of peer reviewed science

Argentina has earned fame as a bit of a Jurassic Park in the 1980s with discoveries including fossils in Neuquen of the Argentinosaurus Huinculensis, the largest known herbivore, at over 40 meters (131 ft) long.

Later, in 1993, scientists found remains of the Giganotosaurus Carolinii, the largest known carnivorous dinosaur amid dozens of fossil fields still being explored.

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