Tiny avian dinosaur is actually medium lizard

The paper that identified the skull of an animal preserved in amber as a new species of avian dinosaur has been retracted. Trapped in amber 99 million years ago, the skull definitely looks like a bird’s with dozens of small teeth, but newly released data points to it being a 99-million-year old lizard instead of the smallest dinosaur.

The new data “do definitively say that we were wrong”, says Jingmai O’Connor, a palaeontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, who co-led the now-retracted study. But, she contends, the specimen cannot be reclassified until the other fossil data are published.

Andrea Cau, a vertebrate palaeontologist in Parma, Italy, was among the scientists who were sceptical of the original classification. The fossil has several characteristics typical of lizards that have never before been seen in a bird-like fossil from that era, Cau says. And because so many of the specimen’s features are lizard-like — about ten, by his estimate — “the idea that it was  instead a lizard could not be excluded”. Cau is not surprised by the retraction, and notes that reclassifications, especially of incomplete fossil specimens from unknown groups, are not uncommon in the field.

Although the fossil is no longer thought to be the smallest-known dinosaur, O’Connor and Cau both say that it is still compelling because of its unusual combination of features. “The specimen is still very interesting to science,” O’Connor says.

Share

RSS feed

1 Comment »

Comment by Dougie
2020-08-07 13:24:11

The light hitting the amber and the distortions make it look like it’s wearing a tiny hat like Slash ;)

 
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI

;) :yes: :thanks: :skull: :shifty: :p :ohnoes: :notworthy: :no: :love: :lol: :hattip: :giggle: :facepalm: :evil: :eek: :cry: :cool: :confused: :chicken: :boogie: :blush: :blankstare: :angry: :D :) :(

Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Navigation

Search

Archives

September 2020
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Other

Add to Technorati Favorites

Syndication