On April 27, Nature scientific magazine, published an article which describes a new dinosaur found by Doctor Manuel Suarez, manager of the Geology career at Universidad Andres Bello, in the location of Mallin Grande, 80 kms away from Chile Chico. It’s the first dinosaur of the Jurassic Period found in Chile. The specie receives the name of Chilesaurus diegosureazi and registers characteristics that caught the attention of the global scientific community. According to Dr. Fernando Novas, paleontologist of the Argentinian Museum of Natural Sciences Bernardino Rivadavia of Buenos Aires, “it’s one of the strangest dinosaurs until now. It belongs to the group of the theropods, that also includes famous carnivors like velociraptors, Tyrannosaurus and Carnotaurus. Even though, it possesses a small skull, horny beak, and leaf-shaped tooth. These characteristics reveal that the Chilesaurus had completely a herbivore diet.” Dr. Novas added, “The Chilesaurus could be described as puma and guanaco head atrophied hands like an ostrich, it’s anatomy causes confusion among different paleontologists. This dinosaur of the South of Chile is the first representative of a lineage that hasn’t been discovered and it is a real puzzle to science. The expedition was led by doctor Manuel Suarez, his wife Geologist Rita de la Cruz and Diego, son of the couple, who found a small and strange bone.
“After seeing what Diego was showing us, we realized that it was all about something that we’ve never seen before. The rocks in which he found the bones, date back to 148 million of years, meaning it was during Jurassic Period, the pieces found corresponded to a new type of dinosaur never seen before in Chile”, explained doctor Suarez. After the discovery, UNAB principal decided to contact some Argentinian experts in reptile fossils, Leonardo Salgado and Fernando Novas, with the purpose of elaborating the description of these species. The specialists made various expeditions together in which they found new clues of the nature of this new dinosaur. According to Dr. Manuel Suarez, the discovery of the Chilesaurus “was made in a zone of 1,400 meters of height. In this area we found rocks that had osseous remains of the dinosaur. They also contain marine minerals and pieces of volcanic rocks dating back to 148 million of years.” “We found a big amount of Chilesaurus’ remains, and this indicates us that at least in this sector of the Patagonia it was really common”, added the UNAB academic.
Also, the chief of the Paleontology Area of the Museum of National History of Santiago, Dr. Rubilar-Rogers said “the greatest enigma enclosing the Chilesaurus is that it dates from the Late Jurassic period, time when all continents were united into a super continent called Pangea. This led the dinosaurs to extend in large domains, so today we find remains of the same species in different continents. However, there has never found been found a similar specie to this in other areas of the world”.
Finally, Dr. Fernando Novas highlights “the Discovery of the Chilesaurus reveals that the history of the dinosaurs is a lot more complex that what we think. We don’t have records that Chilesaurus has any close relative and even less any heritage. Our objective for the next expeditions will be revealed, starting from oldest rocks, which were their ancestors and to what species they could be derived”.
Data table of Chilesaurus
Scientific name: Chilesaurus diegosuarezi
Significance of name: in reference to Chile, country in which it was discovered, and in honor of its discoverer, Diego Suarez.
Place of Discovery: surroundings of Lake General Carrera, Aysen.
Antiqueness: Superior Jurassic , 148 millions of years.
Reptile group where Chilesaurus belongs: Theropods dinosaurs
Eating habits: herbivore
Size: about 3 meters long.
Scientific magazine where it was published: Nature, England
Authors: Fernando Novas, Leonardo Salgado: Manuel Suarez, Federico Agnolin. Martin Ezcurra, Nicolas Chimento, Rita de la Cruz, Marcelo Isasi, Alexander Vargas, and David Rubilar-Rogers.