Dino Day #6

suzhousaurusThis week’s dinosaur is a relatively recent addition to the rank and file. The Suzhousaurus was discovered in 2007 and looks a bit like a vulture, a rat, and a raptor had a baby. Active during the early Cretaceous period, it’s a member of the therizinosaurs family. It is an herbivore with small rounded teeth and was likely a feathered animal. It roamed Gansu, China.

From head to tail it’s been measured at about 7 yards and estimated to weigh just over a ton. It’s a big, cumbersome beast that hasn’t been in the public eye enough to have any famous characters or the like but it’s only a matter of time, especially given some of the other concept art for this particular specimen – see HERE.  Those massive claws they have were apparently not for attacking but for grabbing tree limbs and defending themselves.

One of the things I love about science, especially paleontology is that the people who work in the field and the field itself changes every time new information comes to light. Therizinosaurs were once thought to be related to ancient turtles and then the sauropods, none of which was the case, so far as we know. When it comes to light that the assumptions that were made using the evidence at hand were wrong, paleontology is pretty quick to adjust to the new information without a lot of bellyaching. That’s not to say there are no emotions in science, there are and some of the personal relationships can be fraught with scandal and rivalries but science has always owed a great deal to rivalries. Competition makes for some great innovations.

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