Everything You Know About Dinosaurs Is Wrong – #365papers – 2017 – 81

#365papers for March 22, 2107

Baron, Norman, and Barrett, 2017, A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution: Nature, v. 543, p. 501-506.

What’s it about?

Every person who has learned much about dinosaurs knows that dinosaurs are divided into two groups: the saurischians (lizard-hipped) and the ornithischians (bird-hipped). They also know that modern birds are actually saurischians dinosaurs, not ornithischians like you would think.

Now, based on what these authors have found, every person who knows the above things are now WRONG.

Why does it matter?

The above understanding of dinosaurs has been essentially dogma for over 100 years. The authors point out that such thinking has been so dogmatic, that no one has really tested it. So they did.

It appears that theropods (Tyrannosaurus and birds and many others) are a sister group with ornithischians. This new group is called the Ornithoscelida. Saurischians (where theropods used to be placed) are now a group outside of the Ornithoscelida and includes sauropods and herrerasaurids.

This is a huge shake-up for the paleontology community.

Why did I read this?

Given that it was all over social media, I was rather obligated to read it. I’m not familiar enough with dinosaurs to approve or disprove, but it seems sound.

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