Earlier this week, Chilean paleontologists announced the discovery of a new species of giant dinosaur called Arackar licanantay.
The new species belongs to the family tree of the titanosaur dinosaurs, but is unique due to the peculiarities of its dorsal vertebrae.
Arackar licanantay is the name in the local language of Kunza, which means “Atacameño bones” – inhabited the territory of the present Atacama region at the end of the Cretaceous period, 80-66 million years ago.
The fossil remains from a large, four-legged herbivore measuring about 6.3 meters in length. At the same time, scientists determined that the remains belong to a young individual. Adults are estimated to grow up to 8 meters in length.
Recall that titanosaurs are a genus of herbivorous sauropod dinosaurs from the clade Lithostrotia that lived in the Upper Cretaceous era in what is now Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. In length it reached 9-12 meters. They were close to Saltasaurs.
The bones – the femur, humerus, ischial and vertebral parts of the neck and back – were first discovered in the 1990s by geologist Carlos Arevalo. He excavated a specimen with experts from the National Geological and Mining Service of Chile during excavations 75 kilometers south of Copiapo city in the Atacama region.
David Rubilar, head of the Department of Paleontology at the National Museum of Natural History of Chile (MNHN), led the team responsible for the discovery, which included experts from the National Museum of Natural History of Chile, the University of Chile Paleontology Network and the Natural Sciences Laboratory of the Argentine National University in Cuyo.
The discovery of a new dinosaur species was officially announced in an article published in the journal Cretaceous Research.