The oldest raptors to roam what is now American soil were thought to be about 75 million years old, but scientists announced Thursday a new discovery dates raptors back 125 million years!
Bones of a small, feathered raptor-like dinosaur, the Geminiraptor suarezarum, were discovered in eastern Utah and is the oldest reported discovery of its kind.
James Kirkland, a paleontologist with the Utah Geological Survey, describes the species as:
"They were fast, they were smart, they had big eyes and very dexterous hands."
The creature was named after identical twins, Celina and Marina Suarez of San Antonio, Texas who discovered the quarry where the bones were found.
Celina Suarez commented on their discovery:
"As kids, we always kind of thought we might dig up a dinosaur in our backyard. We didn't know we would have to drive to Utah to do it."
The quarry, now named after the twin sisters as well, has since yielded two dinosaur discoveries, with bones that may suggest a third!
Job well done, ladies!
Now we just need to work on using DNA to bring dinosaurs back to life so we can open that theme park we've always dreamed of.
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: america, dinosaurs, paleontology, raptor, scientists, species