Greg Laden has the scoop on the new Argentine dinosaur that was featured on Daily Planet. It is called Aerosteon riocoloradensis.
Fossils of a newly discovered species of dinosaur — a 10-meter-long, elephant-weight predator — were discovered in 1996 along the banks of Argentina’s Rio Colorado, and are now being reported after a long period of careful study. This dinosaur dates to about 85 million years (which falls within the Cretaceous period).
Perhaps the most interesting feature of Aerosteon riocoloradensis is that it demonstrates the evolution of a bird-like respiratory system in an animal that is definitely not bird-like in most other ways. Indeed, the authors of this paper imply that this dinosaur’s respiratory system represents an early phase in the evolution of the bird’s respiratory system. This is a case of an adaptation arising in one context and later being used in an entirely different context.
Aerosteon riocoloradensis also represents a previously unknown group of South American dinosaurs, which may be ancestral to allosaurs.
Bora Zivkovic at A Blog Around the Clock also has an article: a new dinosaur with hollow bones.
I always get excited when Paul Sereno publishes a paper in PLoS ONE and today is one such day – his third paper in this journal within a span of less than a year (the first was the paper with detailed description of Nigersaurus and the second was the article on Green Sahara cemeteries). Today’s paper is also the second time PLoS ONE publishes a taxonomy paper, i.e., a monograph that describes a new species:
Paul Serano, you’ll remember, is National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence.