New Abelisaurid Dinosaur Unearthed in Argentina

by johnsmith

A new genus and species of abelisaurid theropod dinosaur has been described from the fossils found in Patagonia, Argentina.

An artist’s reconstruction of Elemgasem nubilus. Image credit: Abel German Montes.

An artist’s reconstruction of Elemgasem nubilus. Image credit: Abel German Montes.

The newly-discovered dinosaur species roamed our planet during the Turonian and Coniacian ages of the Late Cretaceous epoch, approximately 90 million years ago.

Dubbed Elemgasem nubilus, the ancient beast was about 4 m (13 feet) from head to tail and nearly 2 m (6.6 feet) tall.

It belonged to the family Abelisauridae, a group of medium- to large-sized theropod dinosaurs that were predominant in the carnivorous fauna during the Late Cretaceous of the supercontinent Gondwana.

“Abelisaurids are abundant in the Cretaceous fossil strata of Patagonia, which yield the best record for this group,” said Dr. Mattia Baiano, a paleontologist at the Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, the Museo Municipal ‘Ernesto Bachmann,’ and CONICET, and colleagues.

“In the Late Cretaceous, these predators appear in almost all regions of Gondwana and in all stages, except for the Coniacian age, in which they are globally unknown.”

The fossilized remains of Elemgasem nubilus were collected from the Portezuelo Formation in Patagonia, Argentina.

“Based on histological analyses of the fossils, we determined that the specimen was only 8 years old, but it had achieved sexual maturity,” Dr. Baiano said.

The paleontologists found that Elemgasem nubilus was closely related to other Argentinean abelisaurids in the clade Brachyrostra, such as Carnotaurus, Aucasaurus, or Skorpiovenator.

“We already knew forms of abelisaurids from older or more younger horizons, so it was predictable that there would be species in between,” said Dr. Rodolfo Coria, a paleontologist at the Universidad Nacional de Río Negro and the Museo Municipal Carmen Funes.

“What we did not imagine was the discovery of a comparatively small abelisaurid, which was clearly smaller than other members of Brachyrostra.”

The discovery of Elemgasem nubilus is reported in a paper in the journal Papers in Palaeontology.


Mattia A. Baiano et al. 2022. Elemgasem nubilus: a new brachyrostran abelisaurid (Theropoda, Ceratosauria) from the Portezuelo Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Patagonia, Argentina. Papers in Palaeontology 8 (5): e1462; doi: 10.1002/spp2.1462

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