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Fossil of Ant-Eating Dinosaur Discovered In China

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the ancient-picnic-defender dept.

Science 64

thomst writes "Charles Q. Choi of LiveScience reports that a farmer in southern Henan Province in China has dug up the first known ant-eating dinosaur, a half-meter-long theropod (the dinosaur family to which T. Rex belongs), whose fossilized remains were described as 'fairly intact'. The 83- to 89-million-year-old pygmy dinosaur has been named named Xixianykus zhangi by Xig Xu, De-you Wang, Corwin Sullivan, David Hone, Feng-lu Han, Rong-hao Yan, and Fu-ming Du, whose paper on the critter, A basal parvicursorine (Theropoda: Alvarezsauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of China, was published in the March 29 issue of Zootaxa (the abstract is available in PDF format for free, the full article is paywall-protected.)"

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64 comments

Ant eating dinosaur? (1, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697032)

Whoa, I must have missed a whole bit there about how far back insects date than. I always assumed that there was little insect life at that time - clearly I have been misled all this time.

Re:Ant eating dinosaur? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697054)

Insects date back 300 million years you dumb nigger.

Re:Ant eating dinosaur? (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697096)

Hey now, there's no call for insults like that. For all you know, he could be dumb white trailer trash.

Or, he might not be dumb at all, and simply an unfortunate victim of the American public school system.

Re:Ant eating dinosaur? (3, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697200)

he could be dumb white trailer trash.

The proper name is "cracker".

Or, he might not be dumb at all, and simply an unfortunate victim of the American public school system.

I believe the proper terminology for that is "functionally idiotic". Not dumb, but you can't tell the difference.

Re:Ant eating dinosaur? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31698972)

Or he might just be black.

Re:Ant eating dinosaur? (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698004)

Whoah! Huge slam on anteaters out of nowhere!

Re:Ant eating dinosaur? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697070)

Ancestral Insects are much, much older than dinosaurs, and have a much more diverse and interesting history. Unfortunately, as in the modern era, if it's not a vertebrate it doesn't have the national-geographic wow factor.

Re:Ant eating dinosaur? (1)

pyster (670298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31699374)

Dont watch a lot of discovery channel I take it. Insects have their roots in the sea. Scary giant sea scorpion! http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/071121-giant-scorpion.html [nationalgeographic.com] Here is something that blows some ppls minds and causes arguments... DOGS AND BEARS ARE RELATED! Amphicyonida! I know dumb crap like that and only have a passing interest.

Re:Ant eating dinosaur? (1)

yariv (1107831) | more than 4 years ago | (#31699394)

Insects are old. The oldest ones are about 400 million years, that is about twice as much as the oldest dinosaurs. Some of the families (that still exist) existed well before them and they are obviously the most successful class, at least in the animal kingdom. You can also find examples of giant insects, when oxygen levels were high enough to support them (no blood system, poor oxygen transportation), still before dinosaurs. Ants are much more recent development but even they appeared about 100 million years ago, clearly early enough for dinosaurs to handle.

Photo (3, Funny)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697056)

Missing from the summary: A photo [google.com] of the ant-eating dinosaur.

Re:Photo (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697204)

Thanks!

Re:Photo (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697292)

lol thats the last time i reply before checking the link. I was wondering why I had a google search page featuring larry king, took a few minutes to sink in.,..

Re:Photo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697554)

About a decade ago a kid by the name of Calvin dug up a skull of one of these. It looked like this. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Photo (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697692)

Actually, somewhere between a decade and a half to two decades ago, as sad as it is to think of it as that long ago...

Re:Photo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697960)

Missing from the summary: A photo [google.com] of the ant-eating dinosaur.

Actually that's a whiskey and cigarette consuming dinosaur.

Ant-eating? or Termite eating? (1, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697058)

ant-eating? in the same sense that our modern ant eaters don't eat ants at all?

Re:Ant-eating? or Termite eating? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697112)

Slow down son, not eating ants [wikipedia.org] ? I guess by 30k ants per day they mean termites. Extant means present *today* btw.

Re:Ant-eating? or Termite eating? (2, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697226)

He's probably thinking of the aardvark, numbat, echidna, or pangolin, which are all colloquially known as "anteaters" but don't eat ants and aren't in the same family.

To be fair, anteaters do eat mostly termites, not ants.

Re:Ant-eating? or Termite eating? (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698998)

> He's probably thinking of the aardvark, numbat, echidna,
> or pangolin, which are all colloquially known as "anteaters"
> but don't eat ants and aren't in the same family.

Wait, the word "anteater" has another meaning besides being a synonym for "aardvark"?

I did not know that. I've always been under the impression that the two words were different names for the same animal. That thing in the "anteater" article looks more like a sloth. Every drawing of an "anteater" that I've ever seen looks a lot more like an aardvark.

Echidnas DO eat ants, but I've never heard them called "anteaters" until this moment. I don't know much about pangolins, and I've never heard of a numbat until now.

Oh, then another thing you probably didn't know (3, Informative)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#31699168)

I mean given that people often confuse ant-eaters and aardvarks for each other. At least one species of ant-eater is actually quite dangerous. More specifically the giant ant-eater can and has killed people. (Of course being more than 100 lbs and having claws several inches long that it uses to rip into ant mounts that are as hard as concrete that's not that much of a surprise.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_ant_eater [wikipedia.org]

I doubt it's been slashdotted... (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697092)

The Yahoo link appears broken, plz fix it kthxbye

Re:I doubt it's been slashdotted... (3, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697122)

No, Yahoo is blocking direct access to the print version of the article. Remove "print" from the end of the URL and it will work.

Re:I doubt it's been slashdotted... (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697222)

oh, thanks!

Re:I doubt it's been slashdotted... (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697916)

Well! That totally fucking sucks. And after so much shouting and training of people to send &?print links.

U can haz link (2, Informative)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697158)

Here [yahoo.com] . Apparently the submitter wanted to provide a link to a print view, but it only works when redirected from an intermediate [Print] link in the article itself :/.

Re:U can haz link (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697232)

Thank you too!

Am I the only one that .... (4, Interesting)

TheRealQuestor (1750940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697098)

Doesn't believe one single story on any website starting about noon March 31st to April 2nd? Just sayin'

Re:Am I the only one that .... (1)

xipho (193257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697148)

Believe what you like, but some trivial homework will show you Zootaxa is a very real journal (it's the leading publisher of new taxa in the world).

Re:Am I the only one that .... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697660)

And for some reason they can't do an April fools joke on their closest to April 1 publication???

Of course a issue renouncing evolution and embracing creationism would be a better joke.

Nature should do that.

Ob: GB 1st (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698088)

it's the leading publisher of new taxa in the world

Read my lips.

Re:Ob: GB 1st (1)

pyster (670298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31699390)

No new taxes?

Re:Am I the only one that .... (2, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697338)

You're the only one. Everyone else knows not to believe any article anywhere until it is confirmed by The Daily Mail.

Re:Am I the only one that .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31698092)

Don't worry. In time you'll learn to spot April 1st news articles. Hint: if it's too boring and your first reaction is "Meh, who cares?", it's not a candidate.

Re:Am I the only one that .... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698568)

Luckily you can always trust that the BBC [bbc.co.uk] doesn't muck around like this.

Scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697118)

Yeah, right.
    They've made an important scientific discovery, which humanity would supposedly benefit from knowing and supposedly they would agree (after all, they chose to be scientists, not the Wall-St (or Chinese equivalent thereof) money-grubbers their intellect would justify). Except, oops, how about that, you can't see their 'science' without paying. An accident? I doubt it. Everyone should assume about these charlatans and others: if you need to go through a paywall to the actual details of someone's evidence and research, it's probably a scam or gross incompetence (in the latter case, why bother reading the rest since incompetence is thus proven.) Results from "real" scientists are accessible from, e.g., Google; it takes active steps to maintain obcurity to avoid this. Whenever someone takes such steps, you should think about why they did so.

Re:Scam (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697184)

Except, oops, how about that, you can't see their 'science' without paying. An accident? I doubt it. Everyone should assume about these charlatans and others: if you need to go through a paywall to the actual details of someone's evidence and research, it's probably a scam or gross incompetence (in the latter case, why bother reading the rest since incompetence is thus proven.) Results from "real" scientists are accessible from, e.g., Google; it takes active steps to maintain obcurity to avoid this.

Good thing you posted AC, after giving away that you've never seen an abstract in your life. Most scientific journals are not free. And Google is not the world.

Re:Scam (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697956)

Exactly, here's a real scientist [timecube.com] whose work is completely available on teh Intergoogle. For free.

Re:Scam (1)

pyster (670298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31699482)

real scientists because he gives his findings away for free? at some point one has to figure out how to fund the work they wish to do. Nothing at all wrong with having people pay you for your discoveries if one balances it out with the ascension of society. If these people dont have money for travel, tools, materials, and personal needs they arent going to be able to dedicate their sevles to their particular sphere of interest.

I would rather these people be paid via public funds, private donations, trinket/widget sales, paywalls, etc instead of the them selling off fossils and artifacts that the public should have access too.

Besides, all of this information eventually gets disseminated to the world.

Re:Scam (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698816)

Fuck off Noddy, anti-intellectuals are not welcome around these parts.

I for one welcome our new insect eating overlords (1)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697136)

However, weren't all insects ridiculously large back then as compared to now? Or am I wrong to base my knowledge of prehistoric times off of time machine chose your own adventure books.

Re:I for one welcome our new insect eating overlor (3, Informative)

xipho (193257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697188)

This is biology we're talking about, "all" almost never holds. Most insect diversity then (like now) was probably under 1cm in size.

Re:I for one welcome our new insect eating overlor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697744)

The insects were huge back in the Carboniferous, when earth had a thicker atmosphere and more oxygen, at least according to some theories [wikipedia.org]

Re:I for one welcome our new insect eating overlor (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31700638)

The thing between Death's triumphant digits was a fly from the dawn of time. It was the fly in the primordial soup. It had bred on mammoth turds. It wasn't a fly that bangs on window panes, it was a fly that drills through walls.

- from Mort by Terry Pratchett

Paywall for April Fools? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697146)

The "paywall" is an http auth? Why use a paywall for an April Fools joke? Oh, so you only have to fake the summary. Brilliant!

Re:Paywall for April Fools? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698242)

Why use a paywall for an April Fools joke?

Because a fool and his money are easily parted.

Question (2, Funny)

Allnighterking (74212) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697202)

Does anyone know tf the dinosaur was dead before the ant started eating it, or did it die because the ant was eating it. (must have been one heck of a big ant too.)

Re:Question (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697312)

That's nothing. One time I saw a man eating chicken.

Every time someone farts in china... (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697248)

... it gets covered in Slashdot.

Check your /. settings (2, Informative)

tobiah (308208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697492)

You need to go to slashdot preferences -> classic index -> slashboxes and uncheck "Chinese farts". I had it accidentally set and was getting, like 2 billion fart stories a day.

Re:Check your /. settings (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31704166)

Thanks!

WOW (1, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697298)

A dinosaur named Xixianykus zhangi, discovered by Xig Xu!

Sorry, I don't have anything to add to this discussion. I just wanted to say Xixianykus zhangi and Xig Xu again.

Xixianykus zhangi!

Xig Xu!

Okay, I think I'm done. Now, to find some way to clean all this spittle off my monitor....

Re:WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697584)

A dinosaur named Xixianykus zhangi, discovered by Xig Xu!

Sorry, I don't have anything to add to this discussion. I just wanted to say Xixianykus zhangi and Xig Xu again.

Xixianykus zhangi!

Xig Xu!

Okay, I think I'm done. Now, to find some way to clean all this spittle off my monitor....

grcrumb

Sorry, I just wanted to drop in to say grcrumb. Since English is my second language, I'm having trouble pronouncing it.

Here's my phonetic approximation: "Dickhead"

Is that correct?

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697748)

Here's my phonetic approximation: "Dickhead"

Is that correct?

quote for the truth

Anti-eating dinosaur (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697452)

Does he have fast? Or eats backwards?

Sounds like a cool pet (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697676)

A half-meter long T-Rex that eats ants? I want one. Get those scientists working on a clone now!

Re:Sounds like a cool pet (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697878)

They would, but I ate the mosquito that bit me you insensitive clod.

shit..T. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31697796)

Slashdot 'BSd is share. FrreBSD is *BSD has lost more

And In Other News... (2, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31697996)

Paleontologists have discovered fossil evidence of a dinosaur that bitches at its mate when he gets home late from work and smelling of beer. The creature apparently has a tongue that's hinged in the middle and designed to wag at both ends simultaneously, and jaw muscles better fitted to an animal three times its size.

I have no intention of attempting to assign a scientific name to this creature.

I want to live.

Re:And In Other News... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698906)

I have no intention of attempting to assign a scientific name to this creature.

I want to live.

The name is "Darling".
I thought you said you wanted to live ; better learn that one fast!

Re:And In Other News... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31699858)

I stand corrected! Thank you for that valuable survival advice. Things could have turned ugly.

Re:And In Other News... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31703056)

I've calculated my velocity with such exquisite precision that I have no idea where I am.

Hmmm ... that raises prospects. The "Darling" issue, combined with Heisenberg's principle. There are jokes to be made from that combination.

But I want to get rid of this Slashroulette shit first.

Too early in the morning (1)

BenevolentP (1220914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698432)

"So that's why they died out" I thought. Only 47 comments - this must truly be bigger news. Or... or am I really the only one who made the connection? Dreams of fame, suddenly so close to reality...

I was severely disappointed when re-read it carefully and the imaginary "i" after "Ant" vanished.

missing link found! (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31698504)

Along with IDA, nothing can stand in the way of proof that humans evolved from apes anymore.

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