A new species of dinosaur dating back 90 million years has been discovered in Argentina.
The discovery was unearthed near the city of Plaza Huincul, in the province of Neuquen, in central Argentina.
Newsflash obtained a statement from Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) on Monday, 5th September, saying that the dinosaur was from an era “characterised by global climate change and mass extinction events”.
A team of specialists from CONICET and other experts “found the fossil remains of a new species of the family of abelisaurid theropods, a family of carnivorous dinosaurs”, according to the statement.
The experts who made the discovery have published an article detailing their findings in the academic journal Papers in Palaeontology, on Monday, 5th September, under the title ‘Elemgasem nubilus: a new brachyrostran abelisaurid (Theropoda, Ceratosauria) from the Portezuelo Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Patagonia, Argentina’. The article was authored by Mattia A. Baiano, Diego Pol, Flavio Bellardini, Guillermo J. Windholz, Ignacio A. Cerda, Alberto C. Garrido, Rodolfo A. Coria.
Mattia A. Baiano, first author of the paper, said: “Based on histological analyzes of the fossils, we determined that the specimen, a carnivorous biped that ate mainly herbivorous animals, was at least eight years old. It was a sexually mature individual, but it hadn’t finished growing yet.”
The experts said that the dinosaur measured about four metres long and was nearly two metres tall. The new species, which has been named “Elemgasem nubilus”, lived in the region “approximately 90 million years ago”, the experts said.
‘Elemgasem’ is a reference to a Tehuelche god with the same name, and ‘nubilus’ means “cloudy days” in Latin. The Tehuelche were native south Americans who formerly lived in the Patagonian plains.
Baiano explained the ‘cloudy days’ reference by saying: “Fog is rare in the semi-arid climate of Patagonia, but it was very persistent during the days when the fossils were discovered.”
He added: “Elemgasem nubilus was part of a fauna that has several carnivorous dinosaurs previously described as Patagonykus, Megaraptor, Neuquenraptor and Unenlagia, all from the same fossiliferous locality.”
The statement said: “This family of dinosaurs dominated the carnivorous fauna during the Late Cretaceous (between 100 and 66 million years ago) of Gondwana, a continent made up of what is now South America, Antarctica, India, Africa, and Australia.”
And Baiano added: “Argentina, and in particular Patagonia, is, together with China, the United States and Canada, one of the most important places in the world in terms of paleontology, given that each year there are multiple new discoveries published in international scientific journals.
“Each time we add one more grain of sand to the knowledge of life in the past. And the contribution to this knowledge, which comes from this part of the world made by various paleontology and geology teams in the country, is extremely important.”