In northern Patagonia, scientists discovered the skeleton remains of a previously unknown dinosaur species Meraxes gigas. This reptile lived about 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. “The remains are so complete that we know almost everything about him,” said Sebastian Apesteguia, a palaeontologist.
Skull Meraxes gigas is one of the most completely preserved large carnivorous dinosaur skulls ever found. This reptile lived about 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, weighed about four tons and was 11-12 meters long.
– Meraxes is an important discovery as we have obtained a very complete carcharodontosaurus fossil for the first time. The remains are so complete that we know almost everything about him – said Sebastian Apesteguia, palaeontologist.
Powerful claws and strong jaws
All bipedal carnivorous dinosaurs belonged to the theropod suborder (Theropod). Meraxes was classified also to carcharodontosaurs. Carcharodontosaurus is a genus of theropod of the Carcharodontosauridae family, whose name means “shark-toothed lizard”.
According to palaeontologist Juan Ignacio Canale of the Argentine research agency CONICET at the Ernesto Bachmann Paleontological Museum, the skull Meraxes it was 127 centimeters long. This reptile had strong jaws with teeth about 15 centimeters long and the largest claws on the lower limbs of all theropods. Despite its large body size, its upper limbs were only 60 centimeters long.
The newly discovered dinosaur is named after the dragon in the series of novels “A Song of Ice and Fire” by the American writer George RR Martin, author of “Game of Thrones”.
Scientists are still wondering why the three most important groups of theropods (carcharodontosaurs, tyrannosaurs and abelisauroids) evolved short, little useful arms for predators. As noted by palaeontologists, all of these groups tended to increase head size and reduce forelimb size, suggesting a high reliance on the skull for catching prey.
Main photo source: Reuters