Paleo Profile: The Dragon Thief
The Triassic is often called the “dawn of the dinosaurs.” It’s an evocative image – a little dinosaur proudly strutting out onto a landscape to claim the world with tooth and claw – but we’ve got the timing wrong. As paleontologist Kevin Padian and others have made clear, dinosaurs were around during the Triassic but they were largely meek, marginal creatures. They didn’t rule anything. It took a mass extinction to remove much of the crocodile-line competition around 200 million years ago. The Jurassic was the true Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and a little carnivore from the cliffs of Wales offers a small window into that time.
Named Dracoraptor by David Martill and coauthors, the dinosaur was exposed by a cliff