28 April 2015

Rare Dinosaur Finding in Chile is a Milestone for Worldwide Paleontology

The firsts bones of Chilesaurus Diegosuarezi were discovered by Diego Suárez, a son of geologists, when he was only seven years old

It was the year 2004 when the geologists Manuel Suárez and Rita de la Cruz were traversing the General Carrera Lake surroundings in Aysén region with their two children, Macarena and Diego, when the boy found a set of fossil bones buried on the land. This finding was only the starting point for what would become the most important landmark for Chilean paleontology so far.

With time and the help of Fernando Novas, paleontologist at Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Argentina, and other Chilean paleontologists, it was possible to recollect and analyse more fossils found in the area. The results were puzzling at first, because it would seem the rests belonged to different species that inhabited the place during the Jurassic Period. It was finally possible to reconstruct the first complete skeleton by 2010. This confirmed the bones belonged to the same species, which was named Chilesaurus Diegosuarezi after its precocious discoverer.

This dinosaur is an unprecedented specimen that combines characteristics from diverse dinasour species. While its hind legs are similar to the Theropod, a carnivore biped species, its beak corresponds to a herbivore variation. This unusual combination has made of the Chilesaurus Diegosuarez the most important paleontology landmark both nationally and internationally. “We are going from being a country with no dinosaur registers to being one that has one of the rarest ever found up to now. Rare dinosaurs like this haven’t been found since the 70’s. It is unique; it is an exclusive Chilean lineage from Aysén. There is nothing like it,” said David Rubilar, paleontology chief at Chilean National Museum of Natural History, to La Tercera newspaper about this species considered as a vegetarian Tyrannosaur and which was presented in Nature magazine yesterday.

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