Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New species: Panphagia

First up on the Goss, here's a new species of basal sauropodomorph. Panphagia protos (meaning "first all-eater," as in it's the earliest known member of the group and was likely omnivorous, unlike the later sauropods which ate only plants). (Note: it does not mean "chimp eater," contrary to a joking post at DinoForum! Pan is, of course, also the genus name of chimapnzees.).

Normally I'd write a bit more about it but this guy was published in the journal PLoS ONE, which is free, online, and licensed under Creative Commons, so I can even post pics:

Doesn't look very sauropod-like, but that's the idea. It's a very primitive form, close to the common ancestor of all dinosaurs, so you'd expect it to be pretty similar to other early dinosaurs like Saturnalia, Eoraptor, and the near-dinosaur Silesaurus.

Read the whole paper or download a pdf here.

Early Goss:
Thanks to the comment system on PLoS ONE, comments on the paper are already rolling in. The paper suggests the discovery of such a primitive sauropod in the early Carnian pushes the origin of dinosaurs back into the Landinian stage of the Triassic. Randy Irmis, however, pointed out that the dating system used to date the formation Panphagia comes from (Ischigualasto) is known to have been miscalibrated. It's actually from the mid-late Carnian stae, which means it's still possible dinosaurs arose in the Carnian after all.

Stay tuned for more hot Panphagia goss as it unfolds!

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