A new species of giant carnivorous dinosaur has just been discovered in Argentina

A new species of dinosaur was discovered on Thursday by paleontologists, who named the giant carnivore species Meraxes gigas. The latter resembles Tyrannosaurus rex, with a large head and tiny arms.

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According to the researchers’ findings, whose analyzes were published in the journal Current Biology, the creatures’ small forelimbs are not an accident of evolution, but rather give predators of the time certain survival advantages. The findings came after a four-year research period, when paleontologists conducted field expeditions that included northern Patagonia, Argentina, beginning with the discovery of a skull found in 2012.

The species name, Meraxes gigas, refers to a dragon from the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book series that inspired the hit ‘Game of Thrones’ television series. The Meraxes remains indicate the dinosaur died around 45 years old and weighed about four tons (the species could have been up to 11 meters long), the researchers said in their reports. They believe that the dinosaur lived 90 to 100 million years ago in what is now theArgentina.

According to the researchers, the new species is the most complete carcharodontosaurid in the southern hemisphere, and reflects the peak of diversity of this family, just before its extinction. The term carcharodontosaurid refers to a group of carnivorous theropod dinosaur species. The anatomy of this group, along with that of Tyrannosaurus rex and the abelisaurids, other giant carnivorous dinosaurs, is defined by large and comparatively small skulls and feet.

Until this discovery, this type of anatomy was still very little known. But Meraxes gigas may be putting together some of the game-changing puzzle pieces. In fact, the skeletal discoveries in Argentina yielded revolutionary anatomical information, as they included a nearly complete forelimb that allowed researchers to understand a “remarkable degree of parallelism” between tyrannosaurids and carcharodontosaurids.

The findings have also given researchers a better understanding of the skulls of these species. The findings add that the discovery of the skeleton of Meraxes gigs shows “that carcharodontosaurids reached a peak of diversity shortly before their extinction, with high rates of trait evolution in facial ornamentation, possibly related to a social signaling role”.

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The scientists told Reuters that short forearms are now understood to indicate that these dinosaurs they relied on their skulls to attack their prey. “Despite their powerful appearance, it’s hard to imagine they were used much because they barely protrude from the body and couldn’t have reached the huge mouth” Pete Makovicky, a paleontologist at the University of Minnesota and a co-author of the study, told Reuters. Instead, the researchers believe the forearms were used primarily for mating activities.

Fascinating, right?

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