September 29, 2008
--This newly found South American dinosaur may have had flesh-ripping teeth, but it had the lungs of a bird, scientists announced Monday.
Found in Mendoza Province, Argentina
, Aerosteon riocoloradensis
lived 85 million years ago during the Cretaceous period
The elephant-size dinosaur's breathing system may help scientists better understand the evolution of avian lungs and air sacs. In birds, bellows-like sacs pump air through the lungs.
The find offers the first evidence of air sacs in dinosaurs, said Paul Sereno
, the project's lead researcher and a National Geographic explorer-in-residence.
(The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)
Illustration by Todd Marshall, copyright 2008 National Geographic Society