Argentina: Dinosaur species discovered with tiny arms like T. rex

Paleontologists have discovered a new dinosaur species called Meraxes gigas, named after a dragon in the Game of Thrones books.

The dinosaur was excavated over four years of field expeditions in northern Patagonia, Argentina. The skull was first found in 2012.

The fossil of it reveals that the creature was 11 meters long and weighed more than 4 tons, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology on Thursday.

A replica of the fossil of a Meraxes gigas, a newly discovered giant carnivorous dinosaur, at the Maimonides University in Buenos Aires, on July 7, 2022. /VCG

A replica of the fossil of a Meraxes gigas, a newly discovered giant carnivorous dinosaur, at the Maimonides University in Buenos Aires, on July 7, 2022. /VCG

A replica of the fossil of a Meraxes gigas, a newly discovered giant carnivorous dinosaur, at the Maimonides University in Buenos Aires, on July 7, 2022. /VCG

A replica of the fossil of a Meraxes gigas, a newly discovered giant carnivorous dinosaur, at the Maimonides University in Buenos Aires, on July 7, 2022. /VCG

The carnivore is from the Carcharodontosauridae group of dinosaurs, which lived in the Cretaceous period, 145 to 66 million years ago, according to the study.

The dinosaur had a massive head and tiny arms, just like Tyrannosaurus rex.

The study suggests that the small front limbs were not an accident of evolution but rather helped the creature survive in its era.

“They may have used the arms for reproductive behavior such as holding the female during mating or supporting themselves to stand back up after a break or a fall,” the new study’s lead author, paleontologist Juan Canale of the National University of Río Negro in Argentina , said in a press release.

Illustration courtesy of the University of Minnesota shows a new dinosaur species Meraxes gigas. /VCG

Illustration courtesy of the University of Minnesota shows a new dinosaur species Meraxes gigas. /VCG

The fossil reveals that the creature was 11 meters long and weighed more than 4 tons, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology on Thursday. /VCG

The fossil reveals that the creature was 11 meters long and weighed more than 4 tons, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology on Thursday. /VCG

Though Meraxes gigas and T. rex had similar front limbs, there is no direct relationship between them, according to Juan Canale. Not only did Meraxes gigas become extinct almost 20 million years before T. rex became a species, but they are also very far apart on the evolutionary tree.

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