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Chubut had the oldest dinosaur

The dinosaur unearthed in the province of Chubut, the Asphaltovenator vialitadi, casts new light on the evolution of carnivores in the Jurassic.


In the  Middle Jurassic , about 175 million years ago, groups of dinosaurs emerged, which later came to dominate all the Earth's ecosystems. It was a stage of sudden changes and a key moment in evolution. However, fossil records are few and fragmentary. Especially the carnivorous dinosaur group.

A finding of one of the  fossils  of the tetanur theropod group changes everything.  Discovered in the Cañadón Asphalto Formation (Chubut), they are the oldest and most complete fossils known to today . The new species was named Aspaltovenator Vialitadi, in tribute to the place where the discovery occurred. But also in appreciation of the assistance provided by the Directorate of National Vialidad and the province of Chubut.

The study of the skeleton (skull, full jaw, arms and part of the legs) revealed something novel. A very unusual combination of characters that mixes peculiarities of different families of the tetanur group.

 Conclusions on the finding 

Today we know that the tetanurus group is the most diverse of theropod dinosaurs. This means that among its descendants it includes modern birds. Another significant conclusion comes from phylogenetic analysis.  The inclusion of the new species significantly changes the evolutionary trees . According to Diego Pol, “he leads us to repostulate the existence of the large group of carnosaurs.”

Asphaltovenator is a large theropod whose size is comparable to that of Allosaurus in North America. It has an estimated body length of eight meters and its skull is between seventy and eighty centimeters long. He is also the first representative of the allosauroid superfamily found in South America.

In addition to Diego Pol, the German paleontologist Oliver W. M. Rauhut of the University of Munich participated in this work. The extraction of the gypsum bochón containing the remains of the dinosaur was thanks to the collaboration of state agencies. The Provincial Royway Administration of Chubut and the National Gendarmerie. The rock block weighed about five tons. It took five years to prepare the fossil in the MEF laboratories in the city of Trelew.

 Source:   Conicet 

Publication Date: 22/02/2020

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By: Horacio Farulla 03 March, 2020

Vivir en nuestra provincia es gozar de una gigantesca naturaleza y la proporcionada inteligencia de nuestros científicos. Cada vez más feliz de llamarme chubutense.

By: Laura Exposito 18 March, 2020

En respuesta a

Como chubutense comparto tus palabras y tu sentir Horacio. Gracias por participar.

By: Oscar 06 March, 2020

Para mi muy poco serio el nombre que le pusieron.

By: Laura Exposito 18 March, 2020

En respuesta a

Gracias Oscar por tu participación. Tendremos en cuenta tu inquietud en futuros artículos.

By: Nicolás 15 April, 2020

Soy paleoartista autodidacta desde muy joven y me enorgullecen cada vez más los trabajos de los paleontólogos de mi país, cuando vea un esqueleto de este espécimen quiero poner mi granito de arena haciendo una pintura de él.

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