- These groups of dinosaurs were blooming just before they vanished.
- A formidable killer, the species was “probably among the main predators” of all of Patagonia.
- Scientists have found a well-preserved skull of the ancient beast.
Even among the dinosaurs, this one was particularly terrifying.
A newly discovered species of carnivorous dinosaur in Argentina has been named “the scary one” by scientists who have found a well-preserved skull of the ancient beast.
A formidable killer, the Llukalkan aliocranianus was “probably among the best predators” in all of Patagonia, now in Argentina, during the Late Cretaceous Period due to its formidable size, extremely powerful bite, very sharp teeth, huge claws and smell acute.
According to a new study published Tuesday about the discovery, the dinosaur’s full name comes from the Mapuche language for “the scary one” – Llukalkan – and Latin for “different skull” – aliocranianus.
“This is a particularly important find because it suggests that the diversity and abundance of abelisaurids was remarkable, not only across Patagonia, but also in more local areas during the Dinosaur Twilight Period,” said lead author of the study Federico Gianechini, paleontologist at the National University of San Luis, Argentina, in a statement.
The Abelisaurids were a family of dinosaurs averaging around 15 to 30 feet in length that roamed primarily in Patagonia and other areas of the ancient southern subcontinent of Gondwana, which is today recognized as Africa, India, Antarctica, Australia and South America.
About 80 million years ago, just as the famous tyrannosaurs ruled the northern hemisphere, this lookalike was one of 10 currently known abelisaurid species that flourished in the southern continents.
To date, nearly 10 species of this formidable predator have been discovered across Patagonia. While the Abelisaurids resembled the T-Rex in general appearance with tiny, stocky arms, they had unusually short and deep skulls that often bore ridges, bumps, and horns.
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“A peculiarity of this dinosaur is that it has cavities in the ear area that other abelisaurids did not have, which could have given this species different hearing abilities, possibly greater hearing range. “Gianechini told Reuters.
The elephant-sized dinosaur had a strange, short skull with rough bones, so in life, its head had bulges and prominences similar to current reptiles such as the Gila monster or some iguanas, according to the study. .
Regardless of how he may have lived, fossil evidence for Llukalkan’s adaptations suggests that abelisaurids were thriving just before dinosaurs became extinct.
“These dinosaurs were always trying new evolutionary paths and rapidly diversifying just before they completely disappeared,” said study co-author Ariel Mendez from the Patagonian Institute of Geology and Paleontology in Argentina.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.