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Dinosaur named “Iani smithi” lived during a time of major transition

“We had a stroke of luck finding Iani,” says Lindsay Zanno, head of paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and associate research professor at North Carolina State University. “We knew something like it inhabited this ecosystem because we had come across isolated teeth, but we didn’t anticipate finding such an impressive skeleton, particularly from this era. Having a nearly complete skull was crucial for piecing together the story.”