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A nearly complete fossil of a therizinosaur (a pot bellied dino) has been discovered in southern Utah.  The discovery is important because it could point to velociraptors evolving from plant eaters.

The Nothronychus graffami lived about 93 million years ago.  It would have been about 13 feet high.  It had claws like a raptor.

From Live Science

From Live Science

“…The dinosaur’s physical features match up with other so-called therizinosaurs, a mysterious group of dinosaurs now thought to be a type of maniraptoran dinosaur, which share a common ancestor with birds (though the two groups split some 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period).

While most theropods, such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, were meat eaters, the therizinosaurs likely consumed plants.

To figure out how both carnivorous and herbivorous diets evolved in theropods, Zanno and her colleagues compared the anatomy of the newly discovered dinosaur with specimens from 75 other theropod species. In doing so, the team found that plant-eating therizinosaurs like N. graffami are the most ancient group of maniraptorans….”

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