STL Science Center

STL Science Center

02 December 2011

Dawn of a New Week

©2008 Nobu Tamura
Eoraptor lunensis, dawn thief of (the Valley of) the moon; who could want a better name than that? Eoraptor has had an interesting history. Typically the pattern here has been carnivore/omnivore then herbivore then back, and this week's part of the cycle should be carnivore or omnivore. Eoraptor has us there as the teeth indicate that this little denizen of the Triassic found in the same Ischigualasto formation in the Valley of the Moon in Argentina are indeed the teeth of an omnivore. Sharp recurved teeth up front, flat herbivore teeth in back. Eoraptor was originally thought to be one of the forerunners of all predatory dinosaurs, until another early dinosaur was found. This other dinosaur had more characteristics in common with later animals like T. Rex and new studies of Eoraptor determined that this little omnivore is actually more likely to be the ancestor of plant eating giants; Eoraptor is the first building block in sauropodomorph evolution!

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