The king of raptors has sneaked into the Andes Mountains.
Researchers have discovered fossils of four types of dinosaurs, including a megaraptor, in a remote area of Patagonia in Chile that has become a major fossil deposit.
Laboratory examination of fossils collected in 2021 on Cerro Guido, about 2,800 km south of Santiago, allowed scientists to find that they belonged to dinosaurs whose presence at this neighboring site in Argentina is all completely unprecedented.
Among these remains in question, four types of dinosaurs, including the teeth and postcranial bone parts of a Megaraptor, belonging to the Theropod family, have been identified by the researchers.
"It's always very interesting in scientific terms to discover something that hadn't been found before in the Las Chinas Valley, where we started to get used to having new discoveries of fossil remains
," he explained. AFP Marcelo Leppe, director of the Chilean Institute of Antarctica (Inach), who carried out the research in collaboration with researchers from the University of Chile and the University of Texas, in the United States.
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Top of the food chain
These Megaraptors were carnivorous dinosaurs with raptor claws, small ripping teeth and large upper limbs.
According to the researchers, these would be predators placed at the top of the food chain in this zone which they inhabited approximately 66 to 75 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous.
"One of the characteristics that allowed us to identify with great certainty their belonging to the Megaraptoridae is, first of all, that the teeth are very curved backwards"
, explains Jared Amudeo, researcher of the Paleontological Network of the University of Chile, in a press release.
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Paleontologists have also identified two specimens of Unenlagia, closely related to Velociraptors.
Their fossils show an
"evolutionary character, which would indicate that they are a new species of Unenlagia or perhaps a representative of a different group,"
said Jared Amudeo.
Finally, the researchers also found remains of two bird lineages: an Enantiornithe, the most diverse and abundant group of birds from the Mesozoic, and an Ornithurinae, a group directly related to modern birds.
In December 2021, Chilean paleontologists presented the remains of a Stegouros Elengassen, an enigmatic dinosaur whose club-shaped tail puzzled scientists, which had been found in this same area of Chilean Patagonia.