In Argentina, found an unusual dinosaur that weighed like a cat and walked on its hind legs

Paleontologists have announced the discovery in southern Argentina of a previously unknown small armored

dinosaur - Jakapil kaniukura. The creature is believed to have walked upright on its hind legs around 100 million years ago.

Fossil bones of a new species have been found inover the past ten years during excavations near a dam in Patagonia in the paleontological zone of La Buitrera in Argentina. The researchers were able to find a partial skeleton of a dinosaur, as well as 15 fragments of leaf-shaped teeth similar to those of an iguana.

Found bones and reconstructed appearance of Jakapil kaniukura. Image: Facundo J. Riguetti et al., Scientific Reports

The authors of the study note that the ancientthe dinosaur was well protected by rows of bony plate armor that stretched along the neck, back, and even tail. It was about 1.5 m long and weighed only 4 to 7 kg, like a normal domestic cat.

Paleontologists say that Jakapil representsthe first of its kind to find an armored dinosaur from the Cretaceous period in South America. It is part of a group of thyroid dinosaurs that includes the stegosaurs, known for their bony dorsal plates and pointed tail, and the armored, tank-like ankylosaurs with a club-like tail.

Jakapil kaniukura teeth. Image: Facundo J. Riguetti et al., Scientific Reports

Jakapil resembles a primitive form of the thyrophore,which lived much earlier, so it is surprising that it dates from the Cretaceous period. The researchers note that never before have theriophorans been dug up anywhere in the southern hemisphere.

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