At about 80 million years old, the new species of dinosaur was named ‘Llukalkan aliocranianus’.
A new species of dinosaur about 80 million years old, named ‘Llukalkan aliocranianus’, was discovered in Argentina, according to an investigation published in the scientific journal Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The discovered fossil is from one of 10 species of abelisaurus that proliferated on the southern continents, at a time when tyrannosaurs thrived in the northern hemisphere and would be “among the main predators” in Patagonia during the Upper Cretaceous period, the researchers defend.
The thesis is based on the size of the dinosaur, which could reach five meters in length, but also on its powerful jaw, sharp teeth, and huge claws on its feet, with the researchers considering that it could also have a very keen sense of smell.
The skull of the ‘Llukalkan’, which means “the one who gets scared”, was short and with rough bones, which is why his head should show protuberances and prominences like some modern reptiles.
The composition of the skull suggests, says the article now published on the discovery, that this species had better hearing than most other abelisauros, quite similar to that of current crocodiles.
The ‘Llukalkan aliocranianus’, whose name comes from the word of the native Mapuche language for “the one who scares fear” (Llukalkan) and from Latin for “different skull” (aliocranianus) will have lived in the same area and time period as another abelisaurus (lizard rigid-backed), the ‘Viavenator exxoni’, just a few million years before the end of the dinosaur era.
Fossil remains of the two species were found just 700 meters from the geological formation of Bajo de la Carpa, near the famous La Invernada fossil deposit in Argentina.
“This is a particularly important discovery because it suggests that the diversity and abundance of Abelisaurs was remarkable, not only in Patagonia but also in more local areas during the period of prosperity of the dinosaurs,” said the paleontologist at the National University of San Juan and lead author. of the investigation, Federico Gianechini.
Abelisauros were a dominant family of theropod dinosaurs (bipedal and with feet with three toes) with an average length between five and nine meters that proliferated mainly in Patagonia and other areas of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, which incorporated Africa, India, Antarctica, Australia, and South America.
Although the abelishals resemble Tyrannosaurus Rex, with small, stocky arms, they had unusually short and deep skulls that usually exhibited crests, lumps, and unique horns.
Through the analysis of the found fossils, the researchers concluded that the new species moved vertically on its hind limbs and that its huge claws would be used to dismount prey, it had a powerful bite and very sharp teeth with which it trapped its catches, moving quickly thanks to its powerful rear legs.
The fossil remains of ‘Llukalkan aliocranianus’ found to include an extremely well preserved and intact skull case.
The most distinctive feature of this new species is a small, airy posterior sinus in the middle ear area, which has never been seen in any other abelisaurus known to date.
This means that his hearing was probably different from other abelisauros, better and similar to that of a crocodile today, explained the co-author of the investigation, Ariel Mendez, from the Patagonian Institute of Geology and Paleontology Argentina.
Regardless of how it may have lived, the fossil remains found to suggest that the abelisauros were expanding just before the extinction of the dinosaurs.
“These dinosaurs were still experimenting with new evolutionary paths and rapidly diversifying before completely disappearing,” added Ariel Mendez.
On the other hand, despite the importance of the discovery, it means that there is still much more to discover, according to the researchers.
“It suggests that there are probably more abelissaurs that we haven’t found yet, so we are still looking for other species,” said Federico Gianechini.
Source: with Agencies