Saturday, June 11, 2011

Haya griva, a new dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia

Haya griva was named after the Hindu deity Hayagriva, an avatar of Vishnu characterized by a horse head. This is in reference to the horse-like elongated skull of this little dinosaur, the remains of which were recovered from the Late Cretaceous Javkhlant Formation in Mongolia of probable Santonian age.

Haya griva is a basal ornithopod, one of the many small herbivorous bipedal bird-hipped dinosaurs that were a common occurrence in the Cretaceous period throughout the world. Some well-known basal ornithopods include Hypsilophodon from Europe and Leallynasaura of Australia (featured in the 5th episode, “Spirits of the Ice Forests” of the WWD franchise). However, basal ornithopods are relatively rare in Asia, represented only by the Early Cretaceous genera Jeholosaurus and Changchungsaurus from China. Haya griva is the first named of this kind from the Late Cretaceous Asia. It is unclear if this apparent low diversity is real or due to sampling bias.

Another interesting fact about Haya griva is that one of the specimen was found with a large gastrolith in its stomach (stone swallowed by herbivorous animals to help them with digestion), only the second recorded gastrolith found in ornithopods. Haya griva is known from remains of 8 individuals at different ontological stages, including several skulls and one well preserved partial articulated postcranial skeleton.

The new genus was described by Peter J. Makovicky, Brandon M. Kilbourne, Rudyard W. Sadleir, and Mark A. Norell in the May issue of the Journal of vertebrate Paleontology.


Makovicky, P.J., B. M. Kilbourne, R. W. Sadleir, and M. A. Norell. 2011. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31(3):626-640.

No comments:

Post a Comment