Fossil of Chinese dinosaur genus indicates that some dinosaurs were venomous

Scientists have long known that carnivorous dinosaurs used teeth and claws to kill prey. Now there is evidence that some of them may have used venom, too.

In a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week before Christmas, American and Chinese researchers announced that a fossilized individual from the dinosaur genus Sinornithosaurus had depressions on the side of its face that could have housed poison gland.

The researchers also noticed in a fossilized skull a long depression above the dinosaur's teeth that, in their view, may well have delivered venom into a number of long, grooved teeth on the animal's upper jaw.

The teeth would have allowed the dinosaur to grab prey and hold onto it long enough for the venom to take effect.

This structure is commonly found in modern venomous reptiles and birds.

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