Dinosaur dawn

SCIENTISTS have found in the foothills of the Andes mountains the remains of what they contend is the earliest dinosaur. Unlike its giant descendants, the discovery by a US-Argentinian team measured just over a metre from nose to tail-tip and weighed only 11 kg. The newly-found dinosaur has been named Eoraptor (dawn stealer), because it lived at the dawn of the dinosaur age, 225 million years ago.

Scientists describe Eoraptor, found with all its bones intact except for a small tail-section, as a two-footed, mammal-like reptile, with powerful grasping claws to catch its prey. The find confirms the earliest dinosaurs were small, two-footed and carnivorous.