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Dinosaurs with beaks



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Author:  forteana@lists.primenet.com at smtp-fhu
Date:    15/07/96 5:47

The Times - 15 July 1996

Dinosaurs with beaks 

A RARE dinosaur skull found in Alberta has lent support to the idea that 
birds are the modern descen dents of the dinosaurs, a leading Canadian 
researcher claims. 

Dr Philip Currie, a palaeontologist from the Royal Tyrell Museum in Alberta, 
has spent a year excavating a well-preserved skeleton of an ornithomimid, an 
ostrich-like dinosaur which flourished 75 million years ago. 

Ornithomimids are a well- known group, whose name (bird mimic reptiles) 
reflects their similarity to the ostrich. But the striking feature of the new 
find is that its beak shows evidence of keratin, the material that makes up 
the beaks of modern birds. 

The Alberta ornithomimid is the first flesh-eating dinosaur showing clear 
evidence of a beak, Dr Currie says. The chances are that it didn't eat 
anything very big, feeding on a mixture of fruits, seeds, small vertebrates, 
amphibians and reptiles. 

"It's one more line of evidence that shows how the transition took place from 
dinosaurs to birds," Dr Currie says of the find, which was made in Dinosaur 
Provincial Park, Alberta.