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Scotland could be birthplace of the dinosaurs

By T.K. Randall
March 23, 2017 · Comment icon 16 comments

Did the dinosaurs originate in the Northern Hemisphere ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Frank Vincentz
A major shakeup of the dinosaur family tree has suggested that they may have originated in the UK.
The reassessment, which is the most significant to have been undertaken in over 100 years, has sparked considerable controversy in the scientific community and could lead to a total revision of what we know about the relationships between dinosaur species.

One of the biggest changes suggests that the dinosaurs may have first emerged in the Northern Hemisphere (rather than the South) up to 15 million years earlier than previously thought.

One species in particular, a cat-sized dinosaur known as Saltopuses, is now a candidate for common ancestor of all dinosaurs, meaning that these prehistoric reptiles may have actually originated in Scotland - the place where the fossil remains of Saltopuses were found.
Previously it had been generally believed that the dinosaurs first emerged 237 million years ago on a continent known as Gondwana which later went on to become the Southern Hemisphere.

Not everyone however is in agreement with these new findings.

"There's nothing special about this guy," said palaeontologist Max Langer.

"Saltopus is the right place in terms of evolution but you have much better fossils that would be better candidates for such a dinosaur precursor."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (16)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Carnivorfox 7 years ago
This isn't actually the first time a novel re-classification for dinosaurs has been suggested. Back in the 70's and 80's the idea that the Dinosauria was polyphyletic (that not all dinosaurs shared a common ancestor) was actually considered, with Bob Bakker splitting the Dinosauria into the Theropoda and Phytodinosauria (Ornithischia + Sauropodomorpha). 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Claire. 7 years ago
As Naish states: While the data here looks good – good enough that it appears to represent reality – it’s only as good as the data available right now, and at this early stage it’s impossible to predict whether this novel model will survive to eternity. So whilst this may not be the first re-classification, it may also not be the last. Thanks for that tidbit of info, by the way, and for Naish's article. It's the best I've read on the subject thus far.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Carnivorfox 7 years ago
There's also a good Q & A with the lead author of the new paper, Matthew Baron:
Comment icon #10 Posted by oldrover 7 years ago
Ah, there we are. A Tetzoo version. 
Comment icon #11 Posted by third_eye 7 years ago
This is an appropriate occasion to remember the one extraordinary Ms Mary Anning ~   wiki link ~ "the greatest fossilist the world ever knew" - UCMP Berkeley edu link   ~ She sells sea shells by the sea shore ... God Bless ye Mary ... ~  
Comment icon #12 Posted by oldrover 7 years ago
I really wasn't at my sharpest last night, I couldn't make much sense of this then. So, I saved the Tetzoo article for this morning when things were more 'in focus'.  It's really very interesting as is the Q&A interview, in which one thing in particular stood out, 'Never ever accept something as true just because it has been said for a long time! Always be open to the idea that hypotheses can be wrong and should always be tested and challenged by inquisitive minds' That is so true, and so central to the idea of scie... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
See - Nessie may be alive and well!
Comment icon #14 Posted by Carnivorfox 7 years ago
Tsk, tsk - plesiosaurs aren't dinosaurs at all!
Comment icon #15 Posted by William buchanan 7 years ago
I don't think bringing dinosaurs back is ethical, bringing them back in Scotland is rather stupid with our climate. We've got an independence referendum to worry about without T-stomping through our streets
Comment icon #16 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
There has been some talk about "bringing back" a mammoth, but a dinosaur?  Have you any idea of the time difference -- no, considering other things you've posted, I doubt it. What would be unethical about bringing back an extinct species anyway?  It is a living thing.  Of course if it suffered then the suffering would be unethical, but I'm talking about all else being okay.  All life is precious.

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