A group of paleontologists discovered in the southern Argentine province of Santa Cruz remains of a huge carnivorous predator considered one of the last dinosaurs before extinction, official sources reported.
The discovery was made by a team of scientists from the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (Conicet) of Argentina and two paleontologists from Japan.
the bones found they correspond to the largest megaraptorid known so far.
The Conicet reported in a statement that it is believed that this carnivorous specimen would have lived in Patagonia (south) in the time before the extinction of the dinosaurs -the so-called Cretaceous period-, nearly seventy million years ago.
The species, whose remains were found near the Santa Cruz town of El Calafate (2,700 kilometers south of Buenos Aires), was baptized with the name Maip macrothorax.
Paleontologists determined that Maip had between nine and ten meters long and weighing approximately five tons.
To support that weight, its spine was made up of huge vertebrae interconnected by a complex system of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that would have allowed it to stand upright on its hind legs while walking or running.
“Maip’s bones helped us better understand the anatomy of megaraptors. They belong to a family whose skeleton was not like that of a large but heavy tyrannosaurus, but they were light animals. In other words, their bones were not solid, but rather had a large number of internal voids that made them much lighter, something like a hollow brick compared to a solid one,” explained Mauro Aranciaga, one of those responsible for the discovery.
addition Maip had a long tail and legswhich corroborates that it was relatively agile.
“The most characteristic of these dinosaurs they are their arms: long, gigantic, topped by claws up to thirty-five centimeters long, with which we infer that they grabbed and tore their victims to pieces. They were their main weapon, as their teeth were sharp but small,” Aranciaga said.
Paleontologists already had some information about the megaraptor family thanks to earlier discoveries of dinosaur remains from this group in Neuquén (southwestern Argentina), Australia, Japan and Thailand.
Maip’s name comes from an evil being from Tehuelche mythology who lived in the Andes Mountains.