Home LATEST NEWS Previously Unknown Dinosaur Fossil Discovered in Argentina

Previously Unknown Dinosaur Fossil Discovered in Argentina


baptized Meraxes gigas – after the name of a dragon present in the series Game Of Thrones – this carnivorous predator was discovered during excavations carried out for four years in the north of Argentine Patagonia. The skull was first found in 2012.

Artistic representation of the Meraxes gigas

Artistic representation of the Meraxes gigas

Photo: Carlos Papolio

We won the lottery, we found out the first morning of excavations, explained to theAFP Peter Makovicky, from the University of Minnesota, USA.

The skull measured more than 1.20 meters, and the animal more than 10 meters, for a weight of about 4 tons. But his upper limbs were no longer than 60 centimeters, that is half of the skulland the animal could not use them for reach his mouthsays the researcher.

The team of scientists, who published the results of their research in the journal Current Biologybelieves that the small size of the arms gave the animal a certain advantage in surviving.

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According to Makovicky, as the head grew in size, it became the dominant tool in their predatory arsenal, taking over the function the upper limbs had in smaller species.

Two paleontologists analyze the teeth of a dinosaur fossil.

Argentinian paleontologists Sebastian Apesteguia (left) and Pablo Gallina look at a replica fossil of a Meraxes gigas.

Photo: AFP / Luis Robayo

Juan Canale, co-author of the study and project manager at the Ernesto Bachmann Museum in Neuquen, southern Argentina, goes even further.

I am convinced that these proportionally reduced arms had a function. The skeleton shows large muscle insertions and fully developed pectoral girdles, so the arms had strong muscleshe explained in a press release.

They could use their arms for their reproductive behavior, such as holding the female during mating or supporting themselves to get up after a break or a fall..

An imposing look

The Meraxes gigas lived on Earth 90 to 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous, when the region was wetter, more forested and much closer to the sea, Makovicky points out.

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They could live up to forty years old, an advanced age for dinosaurs. They presumably hunted sauropods living at the same time, the remains of which have been discovered at the excavation site.

With its skull full of ridges, furrows, bumps and small horns, Meraxes gigas certainly looked very imposing, he looked like a gargoyleexplains Makovicky.

These are the types of characteristics that in living animals are often subject to sexual selectionunderlines the researcher, specifying that these species used their massive skull as a billboard to get noticed by potential partners.

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