PALO ALTO, California – A new dinosaur species has been discovered by a PhD student at Oklahoma State University, challenging previous findings and adding to our understanding of prehistoric life. While working on a research project examining dinosaur fossils, Kyle Atkins-Weltman stumbled upon bones that did not match the expected size, leading to the revelation of a new birdlike species, Eoneophron infernalis.
Atkins-Weltman discovered that the bones he had received, believed to be from an Anzu wyliei, actually belonged to a previously unknown species. Thought to be similar to an Anzu, Eoneophron infernalis was found to stand at over 3 feet tall and weigh approximately 160 pounds, making it smaller and lighter than the Anzu.
This discovery challenges previous assumptions about the biodiversity of the Caenagnathidae family, which includes both Anzu and Eoneophron infernalis. It indicates that the biodiversity of these species may have been thriving before their eventual extinction.
The significance of the discovery is compounded by the fact that it was made by a student rather than a professional researcher, adding to a growing list of recent instances where students have played a pivotal role in the discovery of new species.
Eoneophron infernalis bones were sent to be preserved at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, providing an opportunity for further study and analysis. Atkins-Weltman continues his work in the field of anatomy and vertebrate paleontology, now shifting his focus to the Tyrannosaurus rex.
The excitement surrounding this breakthrough is accompanied by pressure to produce further meaningful contributions in the field. Atkins-Weltman envisions creating a museum experience that immerses visitors in the Cretaceous period in North America, featuring models of dinosaurs like Eoneophron infernalis alongside other prehistoric flora and fauna.