Fossils of a small spiny dinosaur recently discovered in South America may represent a whole line of armored dinosaurs previously unknown to science.
A newly discovered species, Yakapil Kanyukurasimilar to a primitive relative of armored dinosaurs Ankylosaurus or Stegosaurusbut it comes from the Cretaceous period, the last era of the dinosaurs, and lived between 97 and 94 million years ago.
This means that an entire line of armored dinosaurs lived in the Southern Hemisphere but was completely unnoticed until now, paleontologists reported in a new study.
Ya. Kaniukura weighed about the same as a house cat, had a row of protective spines running from its neck to its tail, and probably grew to about 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length. It was a herbivore with leaf-like teeth Stegosaurus.
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Paleontologists from the Félix de Azar Natural History Foundation in Argentina found a partial skeleton of an immature individual Ya. Kaniukura in the Rio Negro province in northern Patagonia.
The dinosaur probably walked upright and had a short beak capable of delivering a strong bite. It likely could have fed on tough woody vegetation, researchers reported Thursday (Aug. 11) in the journal Scientific reports.
A new dinosaur joins Stegosaurus, ankylosaurus, and other armored dinosaurs in a group called Thyreophora.
Most thyreophores are known from the Northern Hemisphere, and fossils of the earliest representatives of this group are found mainly in Jurassic rocks from North America and Europe from about 201 million years ago to 163 million years ago.
Discovery Ya. Kaniukura “shows that the early thyrophorans had a much wider geographic distribution than previously thought,” Fácundo J. Righetti and Sebastian Apesteguia, paleontologists at the Félix de Azare Natural History Foundation, and Javier Pereda-Suberbiola, a paleontologist at the University of País Vasco, write in the new paper.
It was also surprising that this ancient lineage of thyrophorans persisted until the Late Cretaceous in South America, they added.
In the Northern Hemisphere, these older types of thyrophorans appear to have died out in the Middle Jurassic.
However, in the southern supercontinent of Gondwana, they apparently persisted until the Cretaceous. (Later thyreophores survived longer. Ankylosaurusfor example, went extinct along with other non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago.)
The name “Jakapil” comes from a word meaning “shield bearer” in the Puelchea or Northern Teuelchea language of the indigenous people of Argentina. “Kanikura” comes from the indigenous Mapudungun language.
You see that Ya. Kaniukura could look like he did when he was alive because of it computer simulation by Gabriel Díaz Yanten, a Chilean paleoartist and paleontology student at the National University of Rio Negro.
• Jakapil Kanyukura •
here is the first thyrophoran from Argentine Patagonia
It is a great honor to work with Sebastian Apesteguia, Facundo Righetti and Mauricio Alvarez to achieve this renovation.#blender #blendercommunity #paleoart #paleontology #Yakapil #Argentina pic.twitter.com/Hf4ZphlWsH
– PaleoGDY (@PaleoGDY) August 11, 2022
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This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.