card
046

Byronosaurus jaffei

OLogy Series
specimen
card
046

Byronosaurus jaffei

OLogy Series
specimen

Named in 2000, this dinosaur is hot off the "paleo" presses! Unlike the jagged teeth of other troodontids, Byronosaurus has teeth with straight, sharp edges. About 80 million years ago, this swift, big-brained theropod hunted and ate small animals in Mongolia.

A Mishmash of Bones
When Byronosaurus was discovered in the Gobi Desert in the 1990s, its bones were mixed with the bones of at least one other animal. When newly eroded bones are found all mixed up like this, paleontologists call the mixture of bones and rock "float." To figure out which bones belonged to which animal, the scientists had to dig into their knowledge of dinosaur anatomy. It took a lot of work, but eventually scientists were able to sort through all of the bones and even put Byronosaurus' skull back together.

What is the nickname of the Mongolian locality where Byronosaurus was found?

Big Mamma

Camel Humps

Wishbone Central

Are you right?

Correct!

This locality gets its nickname from a famous fossil found here in the 1990s -- an adult oviraptorid brooding over a nest of eggs.

Mark Norell, paleontologist

Byronosaurus is a small animal, about the size of a turkey.

Scientists think that the position of Byronosaurus' eyes made it difficult for this dinosaur to hunt its prey.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Since its large eyes faced forward, Byronosaurus could probably tell how far away its prey was -- making it a very good hunter.

Byronosaurus jaffei
Locality Found: Mongolia
Age: Cretaceous 80 MYA
Size: 5 inches long
Prepared For: 2000 Museum exhibit Fighting Dinosaurs
Characteristics: Scientists believe that this small carnivorous dinosaur had a large brain, and is also an ancestor of the modern bird.

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH; Mark Norell: courtesy of Discovery Channel Online.