A “talkative” dinosaur that lived about 73 million years ago has been unearthed in the Mexican state of Coahuila. Excavations revealed its tail, 80% of its skull, its crest that measured 1.32 meters (4.3 feet), and several bones including the shoulder and femur.
Called Tlatolophus galorum, this large herbivore dinosaur “...had ears with the capacity of hearing low-frequency sounds, so they must have been peaceful but talkative dinosaurs,” according to a statement from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).
Palaeontologists have even claimed that the new species probably “emitted strong sounds to scare away predators or for reproductive purposes.” Interestingly, the shape of the dinosaur’s crest looked similar to a “symbol used by Mesoamerican people in ancient manuscripts to represent the action of communication and knowledge itself.” A picture of what the Tlatolophus galorum would have looked like can be seen here.
In other ancient species news, an international team of researchers found the skeleton of a prehistoric shark at England’s Kimmeridge Clay Formation. This newly identified species, which has been named Durnonovariaodus maiseyi, was a type of hybodontiform shark that lived around 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Period.
The extinct hybodontiforms are the closest relatives to today’s sharks. They first showed up on Earth around 361 million years ago and became extinct about 66 million years ago along with the dinosaurs. The discovery of the Durnonovariaodus maiseyi is very important in regards to understanding the evolution of ancient sharks. Sebastian Stumpf, who is from the University of Vienna and who led the study (which can be read here), explained, “Durnonovariaodus maiseyi represents an important source of information for better understanding the diversity of sharks in the past as well as for new interpretations of the evolution of hybodontiform sharks, whose relationships are still poorly understood, even after more than 150 years of research.” (Pictures of the Durnonovariaodus maiseyi bones can be seen here.)
Another interesting story has been reported regarding the earliest ever fossil belonging to a specific species of horned dinosaur. Named Menefeeceratops sealeyi, this beak-faced, frilled-head dinosaur that lived approximately 82 million years ago is even older than its Triceratops relatives.
This new species is one of the earliest ceratopsid species that have been found and the oldest ever of the centrosaurine subfamily. Numerous bones belonging to the same dinosaur were found in Cretaceous rocks from the Menefee Formation in New Mexico. The remains included portions of its skull, lower jaw, hindlimbs, forearm, vertebrae, ribs, and pelvis.
The Menefeeceratops sealeyi species was considered small compared to other dinosaurs as it measured between 13 and 15 feet in length (4 to 4.6 meters). For comparison, its relative, the Triceratops, grew as large as 30 feet in length (9 meters).
This is definitely a significant discovery as Steven Jasinski, who recently completed his Ph.D in Penn’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts & Sciences, explained, “Ceratopsids are better known from various localities in western North America during the Late Cretaceous near the end of the time of dinosaurs,” adding, “But we have less information about the group, and their fossils are rarer, when you go back before about 79 million years ago.” The study can be read here.
A picture of what the Menefeeceratops sealeyi would have looked like can be seen here.