Scientists discover 70 million-year-old fossil of dinosaur with puny arms, hard headtext_fields
Scientists in Argentina have discovered the remains of a meat-eating dinosaur that lived 70 million years ago with puny arms and a powerful head which it may have used to ram its prey, The Guardian reported.
The study on the dinosaur is published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The fossil skull of the Cretaceous period dinosaur, named Guemesia Ochoa, was discovered in Argentina's north-western Salta province.
The researchers think it is a group of dinosaurs called abelisaurs, which walked on two legs and possessed only stub-like arms, even shorter than those of North America's Tyrannosaurus rex.
The researchers said that the short arms may have forced Guemesia to rely on its skull and jaws.
"It's so unique and so different from other carnivorous dinosaurs, which allows us to understand that we're dealing with a totally new species," Federico Agnolin, lead author of the study and a researcher with Argentine national science council Coincet, told Reuters.
Scientists believe that the animal, possibly a juvenile, lived just a few million years before an asteroid impact at what is now Mexico's Yucatan peninsula wiped out about three-quarters of Earth's species including the dinosaurs about 66m years ago.
Scientists believe abelisaurs roamed what is now Africa, South America and India, and several dozen specimens have previously been dug up in Argentina – nearly all of them in southern Patagonia, far from the site of Guemesia's discovery.
He added that the dinosaur had a very sharp sense of smell and was short-sighted, so it would have walked upright on its large feet.
"Some scientists think that could mean the animal hunted its prey by charging them with its head," Agnolin added.
The discovery adds to Argentina's reputation as a treasure trove of fossils of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.
Guemesia takes its name from Argentine independence hero Martin Miguel de Guemes and Javier Ochoa, a museum worker who made the discovery.