New dinosaur species may give clues to evolutionary origin of megaraptorid clade
A new species of megaraptorid dinosaur discovered in Patagonia may help discern the evolutionary origins of the megaraptorid clade, according to a study published July 20, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Rodolfo Coria from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas, Argentina, and Phillip Currie from the University of Alberta, Canada.
|An artist's impression of the murusraptor barrosaensis |
[Credit: University of Alberta]
The fossilized partial skeleton of a megaraptorid dinosaur analyzed in this study was discovered in Sierra Barrosa, in northwest Patagonia and represents one of the most complete megaraptorids found, with an unusually intact braincase. With unique skull features, the dinosaur, which they named Murusraptor barrosaensis, is a new species in the megaraptorid clade. This specimen appears to be immature, but the authors suggest that the species is larger and slenderer than Megaraptor and comparable in size with Aerosteon and Orkoraptor. While sharing many features with the other species, Musuraptor has distinctive facial features not previously seen amongst megaraptorids, as well as unusually shaped hip bones.
|Skull and body reconstruction of the new dinosaur species, Murusraptor barrosaensis |
[Credit: Coria et al (2016)]
As lead author Rodolfo Coria states: "A new meat-eating dinosaur, Murusraptor barrosaensis, has been discovered from 80 million years old rocks from Patagonia, Argentina. Although incomplete, the beautifully preserved bones of Murusraptor unveil unknown information about the skeletal anatomy of megaraptors, a highly specialized group of Mesozoic predators."
Source: PLOS [July 20, 2016]