The first dinosaur found in Venezuela is one of the world's oldest, living right after the major extinction event at the end of the Triassic Period.
The 200-million-year-old dinosaur, described in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, has been named Laquintasaura venezuelae. The name was inspired by where it was discovered, the La Quinta Formation in Tachira State, Venezuela.
"Laquintasaura was a small bipedal dinosaur about 1 meter (3.3 feet) long," lead author Paul Barrett, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, told Discovery News. "It was probably largely herbivorous, but its slightly curved and elongated teeth hint at occasional omnivory. The teeth are the most distinctive feature of the new dinosaur, as their elongated, curved outline and striated surfaces are unique."
"There are many surprising firsts with Laquintasaura," Barrett said. "Not only does it expand the distribution of early dinosaurs, its age makes it important for understanding their early evolution and behavior."