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New stegosaur is quite a stretch

Fossil find’s long neck reveals unexpected anatomical diversity

By
11:21am, February 25, 2009

Paleontologists have unearthed the fossils of a stegosaur unlike any previously discovered — one that would have had a long neck like a sauropod in addition to stegosaurs’ trademark dorsal plates and tail spikes.

One early stegosaur in the genus Huayangosaurus, which first appeared in the fossil record around 170 million years ago, had only nine neck vertebrae, says Octávio Mateus, a vertebrate paleontologist at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal. Creatures in the namesake genus Stegosaurus, which lived about 150 million years ago, had either 12 or 13 cervical vertebrae, the l

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