Researchers discover largest ‘raptor’ dinosaurs lived millions of years earlier than we knew

A geological study of the rock formation that encased a fossilized example of the world’s biggest “raptor” shows it’s 10 million years older than previously understood. The report, co-written by a researcher with the University of Kansas, recently appeared in the journal Geosciences.
Researchers discover largest 'raptor' dinosaurs lived millions of years  earlier than we knew | The University of Kansas
“We determined the age of the dinosaur Utahraptor and found that it was much older than previously supposed,” said Gregory Ludvigson, emeritus senior scientist with the Kansas Geological Survey at KU, who collaborated on the investigation. “That finding has important implications for the evolutionary history of dinosaurs.”

The fieldwork took place in Utah at the well-known Utahraptor Ridge site, named for larger cousins of the ferocious velociraptor dinosaur (known to fans of “Jurassic Park”).

The ridge is home to Stikes Quarry, a fossil quicksand deposit packed with dinosaur fossils that are largely intact and preserved—in much the same positions as when they died. Stikes Quarry is part of the Cedar Mountain Formation, a rock unit containing fossils of more kinds of dinosaurs than any formation in the world.

“We also learned to our complete surprise that the rock strata from the Stikes Dinosaur Quarry were deposited during a global change episode known as the Weissert Event,” Ludvigson said. “This is an agenda-setting discovery that will reverberate for decades.”

More than a decade ago, Ludvigson, along with Jim Kirkland, state paleontologist with the Utah Geological Survey, and Matt Joeckel, state geologist and director of the Conservation and Survey Division at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, joined together to tackle that question.

The scientists and colleagues they recruited took two research approaches: One path—uranium/lead dating of zircon crystals—involved analyzing samples of these minerals collected at different depths in the rock layers. The second looked at changes in the relative abundance of two types of stable carbon isotopes found in buried organic matter.

By comparing results to periods in Earth’s history when global changes in the carbon cycle were known to have occurred, the team showed rocks in the Yellow Cat Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation—and the Utahraptor fossils found within—are 10 million years older than previously known.

Earlier estimates put the age of the rocks and fossils at 125 million years old.

“That’s a lot of evolutionary time,” Ludvigson said. “It’s kind of a vindication of something Jim’s argued for some time, but arguing doesn’t put an absolute age on it, and that’s important to him.”

The revised age indicates the rocks at the Stikes Quarry are at least 135 million years old. The lower part of the Yellow Cat Member encompasses even older strata. The findings narrow the gap in the rock record at the boundary between the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods in Utah.

“Before, we had a 25-million-year gap between them,” said Kirkland, who first named and described the dinosaur Utahraptor ostrommaysi in 1993. “That’s a third of the age of mammals, more than double the length of time for hominid evolution. It’s a big chunk of time. Anything can happen over 25 million years if you have no record of what’s going on. We’ve plugged that record, for the most part.”

Hei

Related Posts

The ruins of an ancient snack shop ‘thermopolium’ buried 2,000 years ago in volcanic ash in the Roman city of Pompeii in 79 AD have opened their doors to tourists

Decorated with colourful frescos, the snack bar was unearthed back in 2020 in Regio V, the north-eastern sector of Pompeii which spans some 54 hectares. Archaeologists believed that, in…

World’s biggest dinosaur footprint as large as a man is found in 140 million-year-old rock in ‘Australia’s Jurassic Park’

In a ѕрeсtасᴜɩаг and momentous discovery, scientists ᴜпeагtһed the world’s largest dinosaur footprint, a сoɩoѕѕаɩ trace as vast as a grown person, embedded in 140-million-year-old rock formations…

The king’s greatness: King Henry II’s 16th-century armor was made from a 94-pound Field of Cloth of Gold is one of the most complex and complete sets of armor

Henry II, also known as Duke d’ Orleans, was a great monarch of the House of Valois and was King of France from 1547 until 1559. He was…

Examining the Edfu Temple in Aswan, a timeless example of Egyptian architecture

Th𝚎 T𝚎m𝚙l𝚎 𝚘𝚏 E𝚍𝚏𝚞, l𝚘c𝚊t𝚎𝚍 in th𝚎 cit𝚢 𝚘𝚏 Asw𝚊n, is 𝚊 t𝚛𝚞𝚎 t𝚎st𝚊m𝚎nt t𝚘 th𝚎 𝚐𝚛𝚊n𝚍𝚎𝚞𝚛 𝚊n𝚍 𝚊𝚛chit𝚎ct𝚞𝚛𝚊l 𝚙𝚛𝚘w𝚎ss 𝚘𝚏 𝚊nci𝚎nt E𝚐𝚢𝚙t. This 𝚛𝚎m𝚊𝚛k𝚊𝚋l𝚎 t𝚎m𝚙l𝚎 st𝚊n𝚍s…

Rагe 3D Fish Fossil Discovered from the Early Jurassic! It’s 183 Million Years Old and in Near-Perfect Condition

A 3D fish fossil complete with eyeball was foυпd aloпgside a host of mariпe aпimals iп a farmer’s field iп Gloυcestershire, UK. The fossil is thoυght to…

Discovering a 193-million-year-old nest with more than 100 dinosaur eggs provides evidence that they lived in groups

A 193-million-year-old nesting ground containing more than 100 dinosaurs eggs is upending paleontologists’ understanding of an early dinosaur ѕрeсіeѕ. Research published Thursday describes a collection of eggs and juvenile…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *