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Science Briefing

Dinosaur remains bolster bird link

October 04, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Scientists have unearthed the remains of a large meat-eating dinosaur with a breathing apparatus much like that of a modern bird, fortifying the link between birds and dinosaurs and helping to explain the evolution of birds' unique system of breathing.

Pulled from 85-million-year-old rock along the banks of Rio Colorado in Argentina's Mendoza province, the 33-foot-long, two-legged predator weighed as much as an elephant and probably had feathers, Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago reported Monday in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.

Sereno thinks that instead of lungs that expand and contract, this beast had air sacs that worked like a bellows, blowing air into its stiff lungs, much like modern birds.

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