The Chilean Ministry of Culture presented a newly-identified species of dinosaurs – ‘Arackar licanantay,’ in Santiago on Monday.
The new species belongs to a large group of dinosaurs known as titanosaurs, herbivorous, quadrupedal – small-headed animals with long necks and tails.
The ‘Arackar licanantay’ which means ‘Atacama bones’ in the Kunza language, lived in what is now the Atacama region during the late Cretaceous period, between 80 and 66 million years ago.
The bones found including elements of the arm, leg, part of the pelvis, and back vertebrae, belong to a quadrupedal herbivore about 6.3 metres long. According to the researchers, the fossils discovered are from a sub-adult specimen, and they estimate that it could have reached 8 metres in its adult stage.
The discovery of this fossil was made in the 1990s by national geologist Carlos Arevalo, who excavated the specimen along with personnel from the National Geology and Mining Service in a sector located approximately 75 kilometres south of the city of Copiapo, in the Atacama region.
Since 2000, the study of these remains has been carried out by a team of paleontologists from the Palaeontological Network of the University of Chile, the National Museum of Natural History of Chile, and the Dinosaur Laboratory of the National University of Cuyo (Argentina), which conducted new surveys.
The analysis revealed several unique characteristics, especially those of its dorsal vertebrae, which allow it to be differentiated from other animals of the same group and to be identified as a new species.
The discovery of a new dinosaur species was formally announced in a paper published in the journal Cretaceous Research on Monday.