A 200-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Just Revealed Something New

They once walked the earth eons ago. Even though they're extinct, human fascination with them will likely never let up. Dinosaurs have always been a subject of interest for many. They're in children's books, they're taught about in science classes, and films such as the "Jurassic Park" series, which were based on the books of the same name, helped popularize our intrigue into the lost reptiles. We know that some dinosaurs were meat eaters, and others ate plants. Some could fly and many could swim. And they came in all different types of sizes.

We've learned all of this thanks to paleontology — an entire study and discipline dedicated to researching dinosaurs and their fossils. For decades, paleontologists have researched and shared the new information that we've come to know about the once-living creatures. The very first dinosaur fossil was discovered and recorded in 1824 (via Smithsonian Magazine), and to date, new discoveries are still being made.

A new dinosaur fossil revelation

Recently, on July 6, South African researchers made a new prehistoric discovery about dinosaurs, says SciTech Daily. In 2009, they initially unearthed the fossils of the Heterodontosaurus tucki, a dinosaur that lived more than 220 million years ago in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. But it wasn't until 2016 they got to finally examine the skeletal remains at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France — the location of one of the most highly advanced X-ray systems with a high-tech light source. The experts wanted to learn about the reptile's skeletal structure and shape, and recently, using new technology, they uncovered something else: how it breathed.

Despite decades of studies, previous researchers never could confirm how all dinosaurs breathed. It was maintained that several types breathed the same way birds did. But not the Heterodontosaurus tucki. Its skeleton proved that it used its chest and belly to inhale and exhale.

A researcher from the University of Birmingham says that this revelation will assist them in determining how unmistakably different some dinosaurs were — and how they lived. "We've long known that the skeletons of ornithischian dinosaurs were radically different from those of other dinosaurs. This amazing new fossil helps us understand why ornithischians were so distinctive and successful," said Richard Butler.