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Fossil of Ant-Eating Dinosaur Discovered In China 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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Fossil of Ant-Eating Dinosaur Discovered In China

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  • 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.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @11:38PM (#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.

    • by pyster ( 670298 )
      Dont watch a lot of discovery channel I take it. Insects have their roots in the sea. Scary giant sea scorpion! [] 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.
    • by yariv ( 1107831 )
      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 yea
  • Photo (Score:4, Funny)

    by Z34107 ( 925136 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @11:36PM (#31697056)

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

    • Thanks!
      • 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.,..
    • by Anonymous Coward

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

      • 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...

  • ant-eating? in the same sense that our modern ant eaters don't eat ants at all?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 )

        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.

        • by jonadab ( 583620 )
          > 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
  • The Yahoo link appears broken, plz fix it kthxbye
  • by TheRealQuestor ( 1750940 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @11:43PM (#31697098)
    Doesn't believe one single story on any website starting about noon March 31st to April 2nd? Just sayin'
    • by xipho ( 193257 )

      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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by T Murphy ( 1054674 )
      You're the only one. Everyone else knows not to believe any article anywhere until it is confirmed by The Daily Mail.
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

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

  • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by xipho ( 193257 )

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

    • 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

  • 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!
  • Question (Score:3, Funny)

    by Allnighterking ( 74212 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @12:03AM (#31697202) Homepage
    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.)
  • ... it gets covered in Slashdot.

  • WOW (Score:2, Funny)

    by grcumb ( 781340 )

    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....

  • Does he have fast? Or eats backwards?

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

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Thursday April 01, 2010 @02:58AM (#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.

    • 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!

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

        • 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.

  • "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.

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

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!