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Dinosaur Species Found In Argentina In 2000 Finally Given A Name

First Posted: Jul 21, 2016 06:18 AM EDT
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University of Alberta professor Philip Currie and his team found bones from a cliff in Argentina over a decade ago, and in a paper published this month, it seems that the specimen they gathered may as well be a new species of megaraptorid - or a giant raptor.

According to the paper published in the journal PLOS One, the specimen is a cousin of the trio of theropods previously discovered - the megaraptor, orkoraptor, and aerosteon, which are medium-sized dinosaurs with "large claws and air-filled birdlike bones."

Currie shared, "This is a super-cool specimen from a very enigmatic family of big dinosaurs. Because we have most of the skeleton in a single entity, it really helps consolidate their relationships to other animals."

Raptors lived over 80 million years ago, but a clue that helped the scientists discover the genus of the species was the placement of their claws. What was assumed to be foot claws were in fact hands - and these big, can-opener claws of the dromaeosaur or raptors helped discover more things about the species through the course of the research.

There is little that is known about the creatures, however a report from Reuters mentioned that they are called Murusraptor barrosaensis, and were said to have lived 80 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. They measured about 21 feet long, and was a pursuit hunter - meaning they are more lightly built than other predatory dinosaurs.

They are meat-eaters and their name meant "thief from the wall" because the fossils were collected from a creek in the Neuquen Province in Argentina. That the cliff evacuation of the species had been difficult also played a role in its name. CBC News noted that "Murus" means "wall" in Latin, and "Barrosaensis" referring to Sierra Barrosa, the locality where it was found. The creatures prowled Patagonia, but fossils of their relatives have also been discovered in Australia and Japan.

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