Short-armed Jakapil kaniukura bipedal armored dinosaur

land before time When it was released in 1988, it introduced a generation of children to some of the well-known dinosaurs — and a pterosaur, and Stegosaurus, respectively. And then, of course, there are Sharptooth, a member of the Tyrannosaurus family.

During those three and a half years, paleontologists discovered countless new species, added diversity to existing families, and revealed entirely new ones. For the most part, they fall into the easy-to-recognize category, and it’s easy for kids or dinosaur-loving adults to put them among the dinosaurs they already know. Every once in a while, however, we find something that breaks the rules and requires a new and more interesting understanding of dinosaur evolution.if land before time was made today and we may have to add an extra player to the cast.

Beginning in 2012, paleontologists excavating in the Candeleros Formation in Argentina began uncovering fragments of a previously unknown species known as Jakapil kaniukura. Partially preserved skeletons reveal an animal related to other ankylosaurs — to which Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus belong — but with strikingly different characteristics. Facundo Riguetti of the Felix de Azara Natural History Foundation and colleagues describe the species in a new paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“Jakapil was found to be closely related to Scelidosaurus of the Lower Jurassic in England in all phylogenetic analyses. These forms are outside of the larger group that includes Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus, often referred to as basal crustaceans,” Riguetti told SYFY WIRE.

This means that while J. kaniukura is related to Stegosaurus and other armored dinosaurs, its closest known relative existed in the Jurassic period, some 200 million years ago. As such, it had an unusual morphology that set it apart from other beetles of its time. Dating back to the mid-Cretaceous period about 100 million years ago, J. kaniukura is a dinosaur you might want to hug, weighing between 9 and 15 pounds and standing between 1.5 and 2 meters tall. You read that right…stand.

“Most armored dinosaurs were large quadrupeds. The primitive state, however, was bipedal. Early Jurassic ornithischias, including early crustaceans such as Shieldsaurus, were bipedal.” Jakapil Related to these primitive forms, but nearly 100 million years younger,” Riguetti said.

The discovery of new armored dinosaurs is not entirely unusual, with a new species discovered not long ago in Chile wielding a flat-tailed weapon similar to an Aztec battle axe. However, it is unusual to find something so radically unconventional, and it underscores the importance of highlighting the work being done in the southern hemisphere.

“For decades, thyreophoran fossils and many other vertebrates have been studied on the northern continent, and most of what we know is biased towards these species. However, thanks to the efforts of local researchers, such as our team from the Azara Foundation, recent Several important discoveries have been made in the southern continent. In the near future, new species and groups from the southern continent will fill the diversity gap and shed light on the evolutionary and ecological questions of vertebrate fossils,” Riguetti said.

In addition to the partial skeleton, the researchers found more than a dozen leaf-shaped fragments of teeth reminiscent of modern-day iguanas. Teeth suggest that J. kaniukura was herbivorous, although its body size appears to be more in line with carnivorous theropods. In fact, this relatively small armored dinosaur looked very much like an armored T. rex, with stubby little arms. Currently, the function of their arms is unknown, but it is likely that they served a different purpose than that of T. rex.

“Unfortunately, the function of such miniature arms in Jakapil is not known, mainly because they are very fragmentary. The new remains will help us solve this problem. Since both species [J. kaniukura and T. rex] Living in different environments, filling different ecological niches, the evolutionary pressures acting on the arm may be different,” Riguetti said.

The Thyreophoran dinosaurs first appeared around 200 million years ago, and it was long thought that their bipedal form had largely disappeared, replaced by the hulking quadruped tanks known for Stegosaurus. The existence of J. kaniukura proves otherwise. Instead, at least one lineage entered the Cretaceous period while maintaining a more primitive body structure. The amount of time between this discovery and its Jurassic two-legged ancestor suggests that there is a huge gap in the fossil record waiting to be filled.

‚ÄúThere is almost 100 million years between the Jacapir and their relatives. We are delighted to find a rich fossil record between them. Several recent discoveries on the southern continents (mainly South America and Africa) suggest that, The southern hemisphere has rich fauna just waiting to be discovered,” Riguetti said.

It’s tragic that J. kaniukura has such a small weapon and it’s gone extinct. We bet it would give a nice hug. This proves that you can’t judge a dinosaur book by its cover, there’s still a lot to write about in this book, and no idea what we’ll find on the next page.

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