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December 5 2012

New contender for oldest dinosaur


Palaeontologists have found what is likely to be the oldest known dinosaur, filling in a yawning evolutionary gap.

A study in Biology Letters describes Nyasasaurus parringtoni, a new species from 10-15 million years before the previous earliest dinosaur specimens. It walked on two legs, measured 2-3m in length with a large tail and weighed between 20 and 60kg. The find suggests that many millions of years passed between dinosaurs' first members and their dominance on land.

"It fills a gap between what we previously knew to be the oldest dinosaurs and their other closest relatives,"...

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