Fossil of one of the largest megaraptors on Earth uncovered in Argentina

Fossil of one of the largest megaraptors on Earth uncovered in Argentina

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Palaeontologists from the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences say they have found the 70-million-year-old remains of a megaraptor, making it one of the last carnivorous dinosaurs to inhabit the earth.

Key points:

  • The megaraptor measured 10 metres long, with muscular, elongated legs to take long steps
  • It was slimmer than a T-Rex, built for speed with a long tail to help keep its balance
  • Its chief weapons were elongated arms and a thumb claw that measured about 40 centimetres

The discovery was made in the southern province of Santa Cruz in the middle of March this year. After studying the fossils, measuring 10 metres, experts realised they were looking at the remains of a predatory dinosaur from the end of the "age of dinosaurs".

"This is the moment, 65 million years ago, when the extinction of the dinosaurs occurs, and this new megaraptor that we now have to study would be one of the last representatives of this group," Fernando Novas, the palaeontologist in charge of the project, told Reuters.

Unlike the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the megaraptors were slimmer and built for speed, with long tails that allowed them to keep their balance.

They had muscular but elongated legs to take long steps, according to the specialist.

The megaraptor measured about 10 metres long, slimmer than a Tyrannosaurus rex and was built for speed.(Reuters)

"The defining characteristic of the megaraptors was that they had very long arms and that their thumb ended in a claw of approximately 40 centimetres," allowing them to catch their prey, he said.

The Museum said the megaraptor’s arms were its chief weapon, as opposed to the Velociraptor or Tyrannosaurus rex’s reliance on their jaws.

The remains date from the Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago.(Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences)

"Its neck was long. Its skull was low, thin and long. It had teeth which were not too big, different from those of the Tyrannosaurus or the Giganotosaurus. These were small teeth," Dr Novas said.

"Nevertheless, its jaw was armed with these teeth that allowed him to tear into the skin of its prey."

The discovery was made in Argentina’s southern province of Santa Cruz.(Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences)

Reuters/ABC

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May 20, 2020 at 09:21AM

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