Feeds

Fred Flintstone may not have been real but his pet Dino WAS - boffins

'Labrador sized' oldest 'saur ever discovered

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Scientists believe they have found the world's oldest dinosaur after fully analysing a fossil unearthed 80 years ago.

The ten-foot-long dorky-looking Nyasasaurus parringtoni scuttled over the Earth 10 to 15 million years earlier than the previously oldest known dinosaurs, palaeontologists claimed in an article published in the journal Biology Letters.

Analysis of the 243-million-year-old fossil also reveals interesting facts about what makes a dinosaur.

Artist's impression of the "dog" sized Nyasasaurus parringtoni (Credit: Natural History Museum/Mark Witton)

After analysing the seven bones that remain of the dinosaur - one upper arm bone and six vertebrae - the boffins hypothesised that the dino walked upright, was approximately 3ft high at the hip, and had a body the same size as a labrador.

The bones confirmed existing theories about the nature of dinosaurs: for instance, the bone tissue, woven haphazardly rather than laid down in an organised way, suggests rapid growth, a key characteristic among dinosaurs.

"We can tell from the bone tissues that Nyasasaurus had a lot of bone cells and blood vessels," said Sarah Werning of the University of California, Berkeley, who co-wrote the article and carried out the bone analysis. "In living animals, we only see this many bone cells and blood vessels in animals that grow quickly, like some mammals or birds."

The find also suggests that dinosaurs were not the dominant vertebrate group during their early evolution. And it helps explain how they diversified from archosaurs - the predominant land animals in the Mid Triassic period that included dinosaurs and the ancestors of today's crocodiles.

Little Nyasasaurus was found near present-day Lake Nyasa in Tanzania in the 1930s by Francis Rex Parrington of Cambridge University. It is named after him and the lake.

The oldest dinosaur? A Middle Triassic dinosauriform from Tanzania was published online today in Biology Letters, a journal of the UK's Royal Society. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.