Researchers have discovered the fossil of a new species of a ferocious meat-eating dinosaur in the north of Argentina’s Patagonia region. The dinosaur, notable for its scrawny arms (cue the dino from Meet the Robinsons, “I have a big head and little arms!“), shares an uncanny resemblance to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, despite hailing from a different branch on the family tree.
Given the name Gualicho shinyae, the two-fingered hands distinguish the animal as being part of a diverse group of two-legged dinosaurs known as theropods, similar to those of the T-Rex.
“What’s odd about him, the thing that sticks out right away, are these really reduced forelimbs, and also the reduction of the digits on the hand as well,” said Nathan Smith, of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, author of the paper, according to The Inquisitr.
“While early theropods had five primitive digits, the newly unearthed dinosaur does not. He basically had a two-fingered hand.” (Always flipping the peace sign, what a docile animal!)
The researchers, led by Argentina-based paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia, discovered the bones of the carnivorous dinosaur, making up a partial skeleton of the animal. The total discovery weighed more than half a ton and is more than 19 feet long. (Ok, hardly docile…)
The fossil suggests that the newly discovered dino lived more than 90 million years ago, stretched a daunting six meters (nearly 20 feet) from head to toe, and weighed an estimated 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds).
“It’s really unusual – it’s different from the other carnivorous dinosaurs found in the same rock formation, and it doesn’t fit neatly into any category,” said Peter Makovicky, Chicago Field Museum’s curator of dinosaurs, in an interview with the Bangkok Post.
“By learning more about how reduced forelimbs evolved, we may be able to figure out why they evolved,” Makovicky said.
The Gualicho shinyae dinosaur is the newest genus and species of allosaurus to be discovered and is named in honor of a local indigenous deity with power over animals and the wind. “Shinyae” was added as to recognize Akiko Shinya of Chicago’s Field Museum, who first discovered the incomplete skeleton while working on the dig.
Most of the recovered fossils are in the Patagonia National Sciences Museum and in the Río Negro provincial museum in Cipolletti.