‘Frightening’ dinosaur skull found in Patagonia




Llukalkan aliocranianus illustration from features discovered by scientists in Argentina

Photo: Reuters / BBC News Brazil

Exploring fossils in southern Argentina, scientists found the skull of a large carnivorous dinosaur named “the one who causes fear”, using words from the native Mapuche language.

O Llukalkan aliocranianus it was about 5 meters long and inhabited South America 85 million years ago, in the Cretaceous period – the last before the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Researchers also found fossils of another carnivorous dinosaur nearby, an proximity they say is unusual.

The discoveries in the Argentine Patagonia region were presented on Tuesday (3/30) in the scientific journal Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

X-ray of the dinosaur

As the Tyrannosaurus rex, O Llukalkan aliocranianus it had two legs and very short arms, but a medium size compared to the gigantic T. Rex.

The animal also had short horns and tiny fingers. It is estimated that the Llukalkan aliocranianus weighed between one and five tons, slightly lighter than an adult African elephant.

He was probably a fearsome predator, with a strong bite and a large skull.

The findings also suggest that the dinosaur found in Patagonia had better hearing than other dinosaurs in the abelisaurid family, which probably made it a better hunter, Federico Gianechini, a paleontologist at the National University of San Luis in Argentina, explained to the agency. Reuters news.

Near the skull, scientists found the fossilized remains of a slightly larger carnivorous dinosaur, called Viavenator exxoni.

Gianechini said it is very unusual to find two abelisaurids living together at the same time.

“Llukalkan was slightly smaller than Viavenator. If they lived together, they certainly shared the same ecological niche and fed on the same prey. So they may have competed with each other and, why not, even eaten each other,” he told the Reuters.

In the past few decades, Argentina has revealed several discoveries of important fossils. In 2014, the remains of a dinosaur that weighed almost the same as 14 elephants were found in the country.

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