One of the world’s most dangerous prehistoric ecosystems just added another giant predator to its roster. In the Bahariya Formation, a famous fossil site in Egypt Sahara desertA team of Egyptian and American paleontologists recently discovered a giant fossil vertebra belonging to a newly described species of abelisaur carnivorous dinosaurs – a bipedal, carnivorous group that lived during the Cretaceous Period (145 million to 66 million years ago).
Like other abelisaurs, the newly discovered dinosaur had a shortened, bulldog-like face. And despite its fierce looks, this carnivore probably wasn’t the biggest and baddest boss to roam its turf.
“We are 99% sure that this particular abelisaur was unlike some of its relatives from other times and places Not at the top of its food chain,” Matthew Lamanna, a paleontologist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and one of the researchers who discovered the dinosaur, told Live Science in an email.
Related: Crocodile-faced dinosaur may have been Europe’s greatest predator of all time
Although Lamanna and his colleagues only found a single bone, they were able to almost immediately identify the fossil as an abelisaur vertebra based on distinctive structures called epipophyses. “It’s a polysyllabic word that basically means ‘sticky bits on the top left and top right of the whorl,'” Lamanna said. This abelisaur is the first dinosaur of its kind to be discovered at the site of the Bahariya Formation. After a computer-aided analysis of the bone’s morphology, the team concluded that it was a previously unknown species that has yet to be given a scientific name. They published their findings in the journal on June 8th Open Science of the Royal Society (opens in new tab).
An abelisaur was somewhat like a heavyweight tyrannosaur, only with even bigger arms, Smithsonian Magazine (opens in new tab) reported. They roamed the southern hemisphere since the mid-Jurassic period about 170 million years ago, until the asteroid Chicxulub brought the Cretaceous to a standstill. Perhaps the most famous abelisaur is the horned one carnotaurus, a Patagonian predator that grew to 25 feet (7.6 meters) in length London’s Natural History Museum (opens in new tab). Its name is derived from the Latin words for “flesh” and “bull,” and animated versions of this fearsome carnivore have appeared in Apple TV’s Prehistoric Planet and in the Jurassic Park franchise (although its depictions are varying degrees of scientific Accuracy).
(opens in new tab)
The researchers suspect that the newly discovered abelisaurid was smaller than Carnotaurus, probably only 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 meters) long. And compared to the predators that shared their natural habitat 98 million years ago, the newly discovered abelisaurid would have been a relative minnow.
The Bahariya Formation was previously home to a uniquely predator-rich slice of prehistoric life. This once vast mangrove swamp was home to numerous species of fish, turtles, snakes and dinosaurs. The newly discovered abelisaur would have (figuratively speaking) rubbed its elbows with a t rex Doppelganger known as Carcharodontosaurus; a mysterious giant called therapod (two-legged, three-toed dinosaur). Bahariasaurus; the outrageous Spinosaurus, which had long and slender crocodile-like jaws and a sail growing out of its back; and giant predatory fish and crocodiles.
It’s rare to find so many large predators living together in a single ecosystem, Lamanna said. “How this 98-million-year-old environment managed to support not one but four giant predatory dinosaurs remains a mystery,” he added.
The newly described fossil is now housed in the permanent collection of Mansoura University’s Vertebrate Paleontology Center in Egypt. In the future, Lamanna and his co-authors plan to return to the Bahariya Formation and search for more bones of their abelisaur—and maybe even give it a name.
“Hopefully more of this Bahariya beast will show up sooner or later,” Lamanna said.
Originally published on Live Science.
https://www.livescience.com/bulldog-faced-abelisaurid-found-in-egypt Massive bulldog-faced dinosaur was like a T. rex on steroids