Bones from The Dawn of Dinosaurs

Madagascar fossils may be the oldest yet found

Paleontologists know plenty about the demise of the dinosaurs, not just how it happened--most likely in the aftermath of a cataclysmic comet or an asteroid impact 65 million years ago--but also the variety of species that were around at the time. But there is very little evidence about the other end of the age of dinosaurs. No one knows precisely when the "terrible lizards" arose or what the earliest dinosaurs were like.

Now the shroud is starting to come off that mystery, thanks to a discovery reported last week in the journal Science. Digging in Madagascar, an international team headed by...

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