Episode 227 is all about Incisivosaurus, a small dinosaur with rodent-like front teeth.
We also interview Alida Bailleul, who recently described a dinosaur fossil with an unlaid egg clearly in its abdomen. Her research focuses on microscopic structure of dinosaur bone and tissue. She has also studied modern alligators and birds to learn about dinosaur tissue and biomechanics.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- A new small therizinosaur, Lingyuanosaurus sihedangensis, was discovered with smaller more curved claws than its relative Therizinosaurus source
- “Scotty” the T. rex is now officially the largest Tyrannosaur—and possibly land predator—ever discovered source
- An amazing find of a dinosaur, Avimaia schweitzerae, that died with an unlaid egg inside it was found in Northwest China source
- Washington State is working on getting an official state dinosaur: Suciasaurus rex source
- The Montana state senate passed the bill 50-0 that says fossils are a property’s surface rights, not mineral rights source
- Colorado Northwestern Community College has a new dinosaur, Walter, the hadrosaur source
The dinosaur of the day: Incisivosaurus
- Oviraptorosaurian theropod that lived in the Early Crecateous in what is now China
- Probably an herbivore or possibly an omnivore
- Described in 2002 by Xu and others, based on a skull found in the Yixian Formation
- Name means “incisor lizard”
- Skull is about 3.9 in (10 cm) long
- Had a long snout that was about half the length of the skull, and a slender lower jaw
- Had rodent-like front teeth (large and flat), that was worn down in a similar way to herbivorous dinosaur teeth
- Had small, peg-like teeth in the back
- Had lots of teeth, and skull had some features that showed a relationship with therizinosaurs (other theropods that were probably herbivores)
- Balanoff and others scanned the skull in 2009
- Had primitive characteristics (like the teeth) that may show the similarities between oviraptorids and birds are because of convergent evolution, and were not shared derived characters
- Estimated to be about 3.3 ft (1 m) long
- May have been feathered (based on relatives)
- Type species is Incisivosaurus gauthieri
- Species name is in honor of Dr. Jacques Gauthier, known for classifying phylogeny
- Speculation that it’s synonymous with Protarchaeopteryx, but need more fossils to know for sure
Fun Fact: Cassowaries appear to use their casques for thermoregulation. Some non-avian dinosaurs may have also used their head crests for thermoregulation.