First dino for Venezuela, reports ScienceShots 5 August 2014 and Royal Society News 6 August 2014, and Proceedings of the Royal Society B doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1147. A team of European and US scientists have studied a small dinosaur named Laquintasaura venezuelae found in the La Quinta Formation of the Venezuelan Andes mountains. This region is described as “an area sometimes thought to be devoid of early dinosaur taxa”. The dinosaur was similar in size to a small dog, and is thought to be a plant eater.
It is a member of the ornithischian, or ‘bird hipped’ dinosaurs, which include the better known Stegosaurus and Triceratops, which are believed to have evolved later in the evolutionary timetable than saurischians, or ‘lizard-hipped’ dinosaurs. The new dinosaur is dated as early Jurassic, about 200 million years old. According to ScienceShots, “Very few early ornithischians are known, so the new Venezuelan species may provide important clues about early dino evolution”.
The other significant finding is that at least four individuals were found together, and the scientists suggest this means the dinosaurs lived in herds, a behaviour that is not believed to have evolved until 40 million years later in the late Jurassic. Paul Barrett of the Natural History Museum, London, who led the study, commented: “It is fascinating and unexpected to see they lived in herds, something we have little evidence of so far in dinosaurs from this time”.
Editorial Comment: Wondering about the terms saurischian and ornithischian? Dinosaurs are classified into two major groups according to the shape of their pelvis, whether its pelvis is more like that of the living reptile or the modern bird. Saurischian, or ‘lizard-hipped’ dinosaurs have a pelvis with the pubis (the front part) sloping forward. In ornithischians (bird hipped) the pubis slopes backwards in parallel with the ischium, the back of the pelvis.
Finding this bird-hipped dinosaur is no help to understanding dinosaur evolution because it is already a fully formed bird-hipped dinosaur. In fact, all dinosaurs so far found fall neatly into one category or the other, so there is no evidence for the evolutionary belief that bird hipped dinosaurs evolved from lizard hipped dinosaurs. The hips also expose one more weakness with the dino to bird theory since dinosaurs that supposedly grew feathers and turned into birds are lizard-hipped Theropods, not bird hipped suarians at all.
Furthermore, it is not nit-picking to point out that it is quite possible that Laquintasaura venezuelae did live in herds, but finding four individuals buried together does not prove such claims. As we have said many times, when you find fossil creatures in the same deposit that does not even mean they lived together. It only proves they were buried together. (Ref. dinosaurs, reptiles, South America)
Evidence News vol. 14, No. 16
1 October 2014
Creation Research Australia