Argentine scientists discovered the first dinosaur bipedal battleship from South America, which they named Jakapil Kaniukura. The remains, found in the Río Negro area, a province in central Argentina, date back 100 million years.
The finding was published in the journal Nature.
“Ja-Kapïl” means “bearer of shields” in the Puelche language, while “kaniukura” refers to the “stone crest” of the species.
In the Late Cretaceous, the armored dinosaur, the size of a dog, lived in the southern part of what is now the American continent, among other places on the planet.
Sebastián Apesteguía, researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) from Argentina, explained in a statement the characteristics of the Jakapil Kaniukura.
“Unlike what we are used to in this paleontological area, called La Buitrera, this new species of dinosaur is small, about the size of a dog”explains the paleontologist.
“What is interesting about this finding is that it belongs to the group of armored dinosaurs, but from the lighter and smaller lineages. Of this type, they had only been found and classified in Jurassic rocks from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.”
The species measured 1.5 meters in length, weighing between 4 and 7 kilograms.
Other characteristics of the Jakapil Kaniukura, the “new” Argentine dinosaur
“One of the most distinctive features”, describes Facundo Riguetti, another of the CONICET researchers, “is the presence of a relatively short jaw and a large crest on the lower edge, which is honored with the name of ‘ kaniukura’. Most of the shields are also particular, very flattened, in the form of discs”.
With the finding of the Jakapil Kaniukura, a new herbivore is incorporated into the Argentine record. As a curious thing, the paleontologist Apesteguía highlights, the alphabet of dinosaurs found in the country is completed: the letter J was missing.
“This discovery gives us a glimpse of what the ecosystem in Patagonia was like almost 100 million years ago,” the researcher emphasizes. “Let’s not forget that it was found in rocks from a fossil desert, that is, deposits of what was an ancient desert. But species continue to appear, which shows us that it was full of life and, thus, makes the ecosystem more complex”.