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New Theory Turns 130 Years Of Dinosaur Doctrine On Its Head

A new theory would reclassify many dinosaurs and rewrite their history.
Posted at 7:48 PM, Mar 23, 2017

Dinosaurs might be getting a new origin story. And the new theory turns 130 years of dino doctrine on its head. 

Scientists have assumed dinosaurs originated somewhere in the southern hemisphere. But researchers writing in the journal Nature think a Scottish fossil better fits the bill for the dinosaurs' common ancestor.

This shake-up would also rework how dinosaurs are classified. Originally, they were put in two categories: bird-hipped — like the stegosaurus — or lizard-hipped — like the T. rex. 

But the scientists noticed many dinosaurs in the two categories shared a lot more similarities than differences. That could mean some lizard-hipped dinos need to be relabeled.

The new classifications mean dinosaurs' earliest ancestors were probably omnivorous. It also means the beasts may have originated almost 15 million years earlier than originally thought.

The new theory also helps iron out some wrinkles in dino evolution. Now, the dinosaurs that birds likely evolved from are grouped with bird-hipped dinosaurs.