Daemonosaurus chauliodus, the dinosaur pictured, was named because of its buck teeth, but more importantly is a new species that bridges an evolutionary gap between two types of dinosaurs. The oldest dinosaurs walked on their hind legs and lived 230 million years ago, while later theropod dinosaurs survived through the Jurassic epoch. There were no known records of any similar predatory dinosaurs that existed in between the two periods. Until now. The Daemonsaurus dates to 205 million years ago, at the end of the Triassic Period.
“Various features of the skull and neck in Daemonosaurus indicate that it was intermediate between the earliest known predatory dinosaurs from South America and more advanced theropod dinosaurs,” said Hans Sues, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and lead author of the study. “One such feature is the presence of cavities on some of the neck vertebrae related to the structure of the respiratory system.”
It had been believed that all of the primitive or basal theropods had disappeared millions of years before. The discovery, which took place on Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, has altered this and shown that there is still much to be learned about the history and fauna of that time.