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Science And Nature

Move over, Stegosaurus, theres a fresh armored dino around

Paleontologists in southern Argentina have recently discovered an adorable, five-foot-long armored dinosaur. The Jakapil kaniukura roamed the planet earth through the hot and humid Cretaceous period roughly between 145.5 and 65.5 million years back, and weighed 9 to 15 poundsthe size of the common domestic cat.

The tiny dinos fossilized remains were dug up during multiple digs on the in the last 10 years near a dam in Patagonias Ro Negro province. The province houses the La Buitrera palaeontological zone, an area famous for the discovery of three complete southern raptors (Unenlagia) skeletons, herbivorous terrestrial crocodiles, the oldest found chelid turtles, and much more.

Jakapil is area of the Thyreophoran dinosaur group that lived from the Jurassic period to the first Cretaceous period whose name means shield bearer. This feisty-looking group includes the bony backed, spiky tailed Stegosaurus and the tank-like Ankylosaurus. Like its prickly cousins, Jakapil had built-in physical defenses, with rows of bony oval-shaped armor along its neck, back, and right down to its tail.

[Related: This fossilized butthole gives us a rare window into dinosaur sex.]

It bears unusual anatomical features showing that several traits traditionally linked to the heavy Cretaceous thyreophorans didn’t occur universally, wrote the studys authors, Facundo J. Riguetti, Sebastin Apestegua, and Xabier Pereda-Suberbiola. Jakapil also implies that early thyreophorans had a much broader geographic distribution than previously thought.

The team published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports on August 11th. They first discovered Jakapils partial skeleton alongside 15 tooth fragments, which revealed that jakapils teeth were leaf-shaped just like a modern-day iguanas.

In accordance with lead paleontologist Sebastin Apestegua, Jakapil marks the first-of-its-kind discovery of an armored dinosaur from the Cretaceous in SOUTH USA. In addition, it resembles a far more primitive type of thyreophoran dinosaur that lived in your community significantly earlier.

Thyreophorans originated about 200 million years back and rapidly evolved into various species distributed across the world, Riguetti, first writer of the task and a Conicet doctoral fellow at the guts for Biomedical, Environmental and Diagnostic Studies at Maimnides University said in a release. However,of the early thyreophorans, the lineage represented by Jakapil was the only person that lasted until at the very least 100 million years back.

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