Scientists Discover New Species of Dinosaur That Dates Back 90 Million Years

by Lauren Boisvert

A team of Argentinian scientists has discovered a new species of dinosaur in a fossil dating back 90 million years. The team found the fossil in the province of Neuquen near Plaza Huincul. Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) announced the news. Their team found the fossilized remains “of a new species of the family of abelisaurid theropods, a family of carnivorous dinosaurs,” according to the New York Post.

The abelisaurid family includes other specific species within the classification. Abelisaurids had tiny, vestigial forelimbs and hands. This gives them a bit of a comical appearance, but it was still a successful predator. These dinosaurs lived during the Cretaceous period on the supercontinent known as Gondwana. Today, their fossils are found in Africa, South America, India, and Madagascar. They were initially mistaken for South American tyrannosaurids, as they look somewhat similar. But, abelisaurids definitely have smaller forelimbs and shorter skulls.

This new species has been named “Elemgasem nubilus.” The name comes from the Tehuelche god of animals who lived in the mountains. It also includes the Latin word for “cloudy day.” The team found the Elemgasem holotype in the Portezuelo Formation 12 miles west of the Neuquén Province in Argentina.

According to Mattia A. Baiano, who helped discover the specimen and write the scientific paper, the new species was about 8 years old. Additionally, it measured 13 feet long and 7 feet high. Baiano wrote in the paper, “Elemgasem nubilus was part of a fauna that has several carnivorous dinosaurs previously described as Patagonykus, Megaraptor, Neuquenraptor and Unenlagia, all from the same fossiliferous locality.”

“This family of dinosaurs dominated the carnivorous fauna during the Late Cretaceous (between 100 and 66 million years ago) of Gondwana, a continent made up of what is now South America, Antarctica, India, Africa, and Australia,” CONICET reported.

Meanwhile, 113 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Footprints Revealed in Texas Amid Drought

In Glen Rose, Texas, known for its dinosaur fossils, a drought uncovered 113 million-year-old footprints in the Paluxy River in Dinosaur Valley State Park. Part of the experience of the State Park is the dinosaur tracks in the riverbed. But, usually, water covers up the footprints. They’re harder to see then. But, with the water levels dropping significantly, visitors to the part can finally see the tracks clearly.

“Most tracks that have recently been uncovered and discovered at different parts of the river in the park belong to Acrocanthosaurus,” said park spokesperson Stephanie Salinas Garcia to CNN. “This was a dinosaur that would stand, as an adult, about 15 feet tall and [weigh] close to seven tons.”

Similar to Elemgasem nubilus, the acrocanthosaurus was also a theropod. This means it had a large head and small arms, like the tyrannosaurus. Garcia also commented on the benefits of drought conditions in Dinosaur Valley State Park. She said, “While these newer dinosaur tracks were visible for a brief amount of time, it brought about the wonder and excitement about finding new dinosaur tracks at the park.”