Top carnivorous predators the size of houses represented something pretty common on our planet until about 60 million years ago. But it’s exciting that even today, palaeontologists are discovering remnants of such merciless beasts.
As NPR.org writes, a group of palaeontologists discovered the skull of a dinosaur named Llukalkan aliocranianus, meaning ‘one who causes fear’ in the local indigenous language Mapuche.
Discovered since 2015
Although the skull was discovered six years ago in Argentina, it was now analyzed more closely. The fossil belongs to a 16-foot-long predator that has been roaming across the current territory of South America around 80 million years ago. The beast was having short arms and sharp teeth.
Ariel Méndez, one of the researchers involved in the discovery and who works at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council from Argentina, declared:
Coming from a carnivorous dinosaur that has very sharp teeth, with very developed sense organs — specialized, perhaps, for hunting — keeping in mind that it would be about 16 feet long, it surely caused fear in its potential prey.
Science journalist Riley Black said that one of the questions left unanswered is how could similar dinosaurs live together in the same environment at about the same time, and he said:
We’re left with the question of, well, how did they divvy up the same habitat? It could also be they lived at the same time and one species was relatively rare and one species was very common.
Llukalkan is a member of the abelisauridae family, and the structure of some regions of the skull represent what sets the new species apart from its relatives, as Méndez also said.
The new findings were published in The Journal Of Vertebrate Paleontology.