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Some dinosaurs learned to walk on two legs after crawling on all fours

An early species of dinosaur crawled on all-fours before learning to stand, much like ancient human beings. 

Experts have found that the Mussaurus patagonicus - dubbed the Mouse Lizard - developed the ability to walk on two legs around 200 million years ago. 

Researchers said the species, which was only hand-sized at birth, only became bipedal when it grew into adulthood and its weight of gravity shifted.  

The findings were made by a team of researchers at Argentina’s Museo de La Plata, in conjunction with the UK's Royal Veterinary College and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council. 

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Discovery: Experts have found that the Mussaurus patagonicus - dubbed the Mouse Lizzard - became mobile in the same way as human beings, albeit some 200 million years ago 

The teams made their find after scanning key fossils from three ages - birth, toddler and adult - into 3D models, then adding physical features such as the head, neck, torso, tail and limbs.

This allowed them to see the whereabouts of the body’s centre of mass.

Dr Alejandro Otero, a researcher at Argentina’s Museo de La Plata, said: 'Mussaurus switched from four legs as a baby to two legs by adulthood, much as humans do.

'It is important to notice that such locomotor switching is rare in nature and the fact that we were able to recognize it in extinct forms like dinosaurs highlights the importance of our exciting findings.'  

Dr Andrew Cuff, a researcher at the RVC, added: 'Mussaurus underwent an exceptional growth sequence. They hatched at a mass similar to baby chickens, but in the next eight years became as heavy as a rhinoceros, all whilst changing from walking on four legs to walking on two.

Crawling: Children move on all fours to help to build strength and stability in both their arms and legs, before making the move to becoming bipedal 

WHAT WAS THE MOUSE LIZARD DINOSAUR?  

Experts have found that the Mussaurus patagonicus - dubbed the Mouse Lizard - developed the ability to walk on two legs around 200 million years ago.

The Mussaurus patagonicus is believed to have resided in what's now Referred to as Patagonia, Argentina.

It gets its name from the diminutive size of the skeletons of juvenile and infant individuals, which were once the only known specimens of the genus. 

Adults possibly reached 3 m (10 ft) in length, and weighed 70 kilograms (150 lb) 

'It is only by using digital modelling that we have been able to gain these new insights into these long-extinct animals.'

The Mussaurus patagonicus is believed to have resided in what's now Referred to as Patagonia, Argentina. 

Dr John Hutchinson, Professor of Evolutionary Biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College, added: 'We created the first 3D representation of the major changes of body form and function across the growth of a dinosaur.

'And we were surprised to learn that enlargement of the tail and reduction of the neck had more of an effect on how Mussaurus stood than how long its forelimbs were, which is what people used to think.'

WHAT KILLED THE DINOSAURS?

Around 65 million years ago non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out and more than half the world's species were obliterated.

This mass extinction paved the way for the rise of mammals and the appearance of humans.

The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

The asteroid slammed into a shallow sea in what is now the Gulf of Mexico.

The collision released a huge dust and soot cloud that triggered global climate change, wiping out 75 per cent of all animal and plan species.

Researchers claim that the soot necessary for such a global catastrophe could only have come from a direct impact on rocks in shallow water around Mexico, which are especially rich in hydrocarbons.

Within 10 hours of the impact, a massive tsunami waved ripped through the Gulf coast, experts believe.

Around 65 million years ago non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out and more than half the world's species were obliterated. The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event (stock image)

This caused earthquakes and landslides in areas as far as Argentina.

But while the waves and eruptions were  The creatures living at the time were not just suffering from the waves - the heat was much worse.

While investigating the event researchers found small particles of rock and other debris that was shot into the air when the asteroid crashed.

Called spherules, these small particles covered the planet with a thick layer of soot.

Experts explain that losing the light from the sun caused a complete collapse in the aquatic system.

This is because the phytoplankton base of almost all aquatic food chains would have been eliminated.

It's believed that the more than 180 million years of evolution that brought the world to the Cretaceous point was destroyed in less than the lifetime of a Tyrannosaurus rex, which is about 20 to 30 years.

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