New species of carnivorous dinosaur in Argentine Patagonia

(CNN Spanish) — A team of paleontologists from Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Conicet) discovered fossils of a species of carnivorous dinosaur in rocks from the La Colina geological formation, in northern Chubut, in central Patagonia, Argentina.

This discovery, led by more than 70 researchers from the Egidio Feruglio Paleontological Museum, is part of the research project “The End of the Age of Dinosaurs in Patagonia”, supported by the National Geographic Society and focuses on the study of the end of the era of the dinosaurs that existed in this region of the southern hemisphere during the last 15 million years of the Cretaceous period.

They find a new species of carnivorous dinosaur in Argentine Patagonia (Credit: María Agustinho)

The fossil was named by researchers as Koleken inakayali, according to a Conicet publication. The name “Koleken” comes from the Tehuelche language and means “that comes from clay and water”, while the name “inakayali” refers to the Tehuelche chief Inakayal, indigenous leader of the region.

Koleken inakayali belongs to the abelisaurid family, one of the most important families of carnivorous dinosaurs from ancient Gondwana. It is the second dinosaur of this species that has been found in the La Colonia Formation at the end of the dinosaur era, 69 million years ago.

The distinctive characteristics of this dinosaur

According to the researchers, Koleken inakayali has unique characteristics, especially in its skull, that distinguish it from other abelisaurids. Unlike the well-known “carnivorous bull”, Carnotaurus sastreithis new dinosaur is smaller in size and lacks horns on its skull.

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Reconstruction of Koleken inakayali, a new species of carnivorous dinosaur in Argentine Patagonia. Credits: Gabriel Díaz Yanten (paleogdy)

In the publication in the magazine Cladistics, the researchers highlight that the fossil includes several skull bones, a nearly complete set of back bones, a complete hip, several tail bones, and nearly complete legs. This set of fossil remains provides a glimpse into the anatomy of this carnivorous dinosaur that lived 69 million years ago.

Research led by Argentine paleontologist Diego Pol and his team reveals pulses of accelerated rates of skull evolution in the Early Cretaceous, expanding understanding of the evolution of abelisaurids and similar dinosaurs during that period. “This finding sheds light on the diversity of abelisaurid theropods in Patagonia before the mass extinction event,” says Pol.

The importance of the discovery of this dinosaur

According to Ian Miller, director of science and innovation at the National Geographic Society, the discovery of Koleken inakayali “significantly advances our collective scientific understanding of the age of dinosaurs,” as it suggests that carnivorous dinosaurs in the abelisaurid family were more diverse. than what researchers thought until now. Furthermore, this finding indicates that several species of carnivores shared the same ecosystem before the extinction of the dinosaurs.

 
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