The left jawbone of a previously unknown dinosaur species was found along Lake Grapevine in north Tarrant County in 2020.
Ampelognathus coheni, a small dinosaur that lived in eastern North America 96 million years ago, is named after Murray Cohen, the volunteer who discovered the fossil, and the nearby city of Grapevine. The name roughly translates to “Cohen’s Grapevine jaw.”
Scientists from the Dallas-based Perot Museum of Nature and Science and University of Wisconsin-Parkside published their discovery in October. In 2015, the same group of paleontologists was the first to find fossilized dinosaur tracks near Lake Grapevine.
The fossil found in 2020 is the first confirmation that small-bodied ornithopod dinosaurs were part of the area’s ecosystem, scientists told Sci.News.
Ornithopods were among the most successful groups of herbivores that dominated the North American landscape before being wiped out in a mass extinction event approximately 66 million years ago.
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Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology The first small-bodied ornithopod dinosaur from the Lewisville Formation (middle Cenomanian) of Texas
The Dallas Morning News New ‘little bitty’ dinosaur discovered in North Texas near Grapevine rock formation
Encyclopedia Britannica Ornithopod