Dinosaur Caught in the Act of Evolving
Falcarius utahensis is a newly discovered dinosaur that paleontologist believe was in transition from being a meat eater to a plant eater.
James I. Kirkland, a paleontologist with the Utah Geological Survey, said the new species, named Falcarius utahensis, was uncovered two years ago at a remote dig near the town of Green River. The animal, about 13 feet long and 4 1/2 feet tall, was a primitive member of the therizinosaur group of feathered dinosaurs.
Under closer examination, Kirkland said, the Falcarius fossils showed “the beginnings of features we associate with plant-eating dinosaurs.” The teeth were not the sharp, bladelike serrated teeth of the typical predator, but smaller and adapted for shredding leaves. “I doubt that this animal could have cut a steak,” he said.
Therizinosaurids are, to me, a very cool group of dinosaurs. They often have these tremendously large claws. The current view is that the claws were useful in pulling vegetation down from trees. Although, David Tufte posted awhile ago on a therizinosaur (a Nothronychus to be exact) found near his home where the skeleton was 60 miles off where the Cretaceous coastline is known to have been. Nothronnychus has a very impressive set of claws about 3 feet long, and there was this interesting tidbit,
So, I suggested through a question, that perhaps this creature was digging up clams. Dr. Gillette said that he wondered the same thing. There’s no evidence to support this (but that isn’t unusual with new species of dinosaur). However, Dr. Gillette did mention that there is more than a passing similarity between the teeth of other Nothronychus (the skull of his is missing) and those of crabeater seals.
Local Creationists have responded by stating, “Yeah, but it didn’t turn into no monkey.”