By Chris King • 20 May 2023 • 0:43
Image of a Spinosaurus.
Credit: Elekes Andor/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
A new species of dinosaur has been discovered by Spanish researchers. The fossilised remains were unearthed at a site in the Castellon municipality of Cinctorres.
Andrés Santos-Cubedo, the palaeontologist head of the team explained that what would have been an enormous creature has been identified as a bipedal and carnivorous Spinosaurus.
According to EFE, and reported by elespanol.com today, Friday, May 19, the conclusions of the team’s work were published in the Scientific Reports magazine. This latest discovery helps to shed light on the origin and evolution of these dinosaurs it concluded.
Identifying this new species suggested that the Iberian Peninsula could have been a very diverse area for medium or large-bodied Spinosaurs said the research team.
The dinosaur was christened ‘Protathlitis cinctorrensis’ after its discovery. In Greek, the word ‘protathlitis’ means champion.
This name was used in reference to the Castellon football team Villarreal CF winning the UEFA Europa League title in 2021. It also serves as a tribute to the centenary that the club celebrates this year.
‘Cinctorrensis’ meanwhile was used in recognition of the locality and the inhabitants of the Arcillas de Morella area in the Valencian Community where the fossil remains were found.
Analysis of the right jaw bone, a tooth, and five tail vertebrae, led Santos-Cubedo’s team to conclude that the fragments belonged to a dinosaur specimen that would have measured between 10 and 11 metres long.
It could have weighed at least two tons. and is different from other Spinosaurs found previously they added. According to information provided by EFE, the massive creature dates back to the Barremian period in the lower Cretaceous. That makes it somewhere between 127 and 126 million years old.
Almost 1,000 fossil remains have been uncovered to date at this same location in Castellon explained Andrés Santos-Cubedo.
These include the remains of at least two plant-eating ornithopod dinosaurs, along with a sauropod, which was a quadruped dinosaur with a long neck and tail. The remains of two theropods were also identified, a quadruped dinosaur with a long neck and tail.
Fossils of other Mesozoic vertebrates such as fish, sharks and crocodiles have also been unearthed in the same place the palaeontologist told EFE.
Excavations at the site have not yet finished and a new campaign will begin next year. This could lead to the real possibility of finding more fossil remains of the new dinosaur Santos-Cubedo suggested.
He assessed that this was a particularly relevant finding since carnivore fossils were less abundant than those of their plant-eating relatives.
The Castellon region of Els Ports was a crucial area for the study of dinosaurs from the lower Cretaceous period the palaeontologist pointed out.
Spinosaurid theropods were carnivorous dinosaurs that walked on their two hind legs. On their arms, they had strong claws which they used to catch their prey explained the researcher. Their conical teeth were located in an elongated snout very similar to that of crocodiles he added.
Investigations that have taken place in recent decades suggest that spinosaurids may have originated in Europe and then migrated to Africa and Asia. Evidence of their existence in Spain has been based mainly on the remains of fossilised teeth found in the country.
Two years ago, this same researcher published a paper in which the fossil remains of a dinosaur – also unknown until then, and similar to an ‘iguanodon’ (giant iguana) – were revealed.
Palaeontologists and researchers from the Jaime I University of Castellón and the Grup Guix de Villareal association participated in the research published by Scientific Reports.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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