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Palaeontology

New dinosaur had a keen sense of smell

By T.K. Randall
May 12, 2015 · Comment icon 9 comments

The new species was a close relative of the Velociraptor. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Frank Vincentz
A doctoral student has identified a new species of meat-eating dinosaur with an extremely effective nose.
University of Pennsylvania researcher Steven Jasinski made the discovery after a fossil skull fragment he was examining turned out to be from a previously unknown species.

A close relative of the Velociraptor, the new dinosaur has been named Saurornitholestes sullivani and is thought to have possessed an extremely keen sense of smell, an advantage that would have made it a highly effective predator.
"This feature means that Saurornitholestes sullivani had a relatively better sense of smell than other dromaeosaurid dinosaurs, including Velociraptor, Dromaeosaurus, and Bambiraptor," said Jasinski.

While at roughly 6ft in length this prehistoric meat-eater was not a particularly large dinosaur it would have been quick and agile, a lot like its counterparts in the movie 'Jurassic Park'.

Its keen sense of smell would have also made it very difficult for its prey to escape undetected.

Source: Eurekalert.org | Comments (9)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by She-ra 9 years ago
Very cool. He was smaller then I thought: At less than 3 feet at its hip and roughly 6 feet in length, S. sullivani was not a large dinosaur. However, previous findings of related species suggest the animal would have been agile and fast, perhaps hunting in packs and using its acute sense of smell to track down prey. "Although it was not large, this was not a dinosaur you would want to mess with," Jasinski said Thanks Still Waters!!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
I would not be surprised that a dinosaur with a keen sense of smell would be more of a carrion feeder. Most birds have a poor sense of smell, but Turkey Vultures have a very keen nose, so much so they can detect a carcass covered in leaves from the air, when they could not possibly see it.
Comment icon #3 Posted by BeastieRunner 9 years ago
Great find. I enjoy the discovery of new raptor species.
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
How can you tell from the skull that the nose was superior for smell?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Atuke 9 years ago
It must've smelled too much West Indian Lilac and died.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Infernal Gnu 9 years ago
Excellent. Now clone a bunch of them and let's get some raptor fights going.
Comment icon #7 Posted by David-C 9 years ago
Kristen says, NO!!
Comment icon #8 Posted by theotherguy 9 years ago
How can you tell from the skull that the nose was superior for smell? The size of the nasal cavities. It's a pretty direct relationship: bigger nasal passages = better sense of smell. Since the olfactory nerves have pretty much gone away during the process of fossilization, it can't be directly confirmed, but what are paleontologists for if not making guesses about dead things?
Comment icon #9 Posted by SlashHabit 9 years ago
Oh yeah? well if he was so special then how comes he's dead?


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