Researchers discovered a new carnivorous dinosaur, a new shark species, three new fish species and three new trees at an archaeological site in Utah. All the organisms they found lived in or around a giant lake about 200 million years ago.
Anatomical features and track marks linked to the dinosaur suggest it specialized in eating and catching fish, including sharks and huge bony fish that, when consumed, would have been "like biting through chain mail," Utah State paleontologist James Kirkland told Discovery News.
The fish-loving dino, which the researchers believe was a cousin of the crested dino Dilophosaurus, would have been a formidable adversary to its fearsome prey.
"These (dinosaurs) got up to 18-20 feet in length, 6-7 feet high at the hips, and weighed between 750-1,000 pounds," explained Andrew Milner, city paleontologist at the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site on Johnson Farm, Utah, where the excavations took place.
Long, sharp teeth at the front of the dinosaur's mouth helped to keep fish from flying out, said Kirkland, while other, more slender teeth had "steak-knife serration" wear patterns between the tip and the gum line.
"The only other meat-eating dinosaurs with teeth worn like that are the spinosaurs Spinosaurus and Suchimimus from North Africa where large...fish dominated," said Kirkland.