Argentinian scientists discovered a fast 90-million-year-old herbivorous dinosaur

Argentinian scientists discovered a fast 90-million-year-old herbivorous dinosaur

Paleontologists from Argentina announced the discovery of a new medium-sized herbivorous dinosaur, which was a fast runner and lived about 90 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period in what is now Patagonia.

The animal, named Chakisaurus nekul, was found in the Pueblo Blanco Natural Reserve, in the southern region of Río Negro, an area rich in fossils where many mammals, turtles, and fish have been found along with other dinosaur species.

It is estimated that the largest Chakisaurus reached a length of 2.5 or 3 meters and a height of 70 centimeters (8 to 10 feet long and 27 inches high).

The Chakisaurus study produced new findings that show it was a fast runner and its tail was unusually curved downwards.

“This new species, Chakisaurus nekul, is a bipedal herbivore whose most important feature is having a tail that, unlike other dinosaurs, which is flat, has a downward curve,” said Rodrigo Álvarez, author of the study.

“It is something very new for this animal. Also, it is known that it is a good runner, which is something that is necessary because it lives with a large number of predators and its only defense is to be faster than them.”

The dinosaur’s name comes from Chaki, a word from the Aonikenk language, of the Tehuelche indigenous people, meaning “old guanaco”, referring to the medium-sized herbivorous mammals found in the region. Nekul means “quick” or “agile” in the Mapudungún language, the local Mapuche people.

He has very strong hind limbs and a tail with an anatomy that allows him to move it laterally and thus be able to balance during the race,” Sebastián Rozadilla, co-author of the publication, explained to Reuters.

A team of Argentine paleontologists with the support of the National Geographic Society, made the discovery initially in 2018, but recently disclosed their findings in the respected journal Cretaceous Research.

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