Tiny armoured dinosaur discovered in Argentina

2 mins
16 Aug 2022
Tiny armoured dinosaur discovered in Argentina

Not going to lie, I would totally want this as a house pet

image Louise Smith on Unsplash

words Megan Wallace

It’s been a big summer for archeologists and their ilk: whether it’s discovering fossils that could prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster (we kid you not, dear reader) or uncovering a lost Mesopotamian city in Iraq. The latest news? Evidence of a tiny, armoured dinosaur has been found in Argentina.

Thought to have existed on Earth between 97 million and 94 million years ago, remains of the previously undiscovered dinosaur were uncovered in the Río Negro province in northern Patagonia. The discovery was made by a group of palaeontologists from Félix de Azara Natural History Foundation in Argentina.

Not to get all Jurassic Park on you, but due to a series of armoured discs running along the dinosaur’s neck, back and tail, researchers believe it to have been related to the thyreophoran species, which includes dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus and the Ankylosauru (if those mean anything to you). The new dinosaur is thought to potentially be one within a whole lineage of previously unheard of armoured dinosaurs in the Southern hemisphere. So it’s a pretty big deal in dino land!

Due to its distinctive anatomy, the creature has been named the “Jakapil kaniukur”, derived from the Puelche term for “shield-bearer” and the Mapuche words for “stone” and “crest”.

The team working on the discovery shared their findings in a paper published on 11 August in the Scientific Reports journal. We’re not going to lie, it’s pretty hard to understand the study if, like us, you don’t have a palaeontology background but there is also a much more fun (and easy to decipher) multimedia element: a 3D video reconstruction of the extinct dinosaur, created by a team including palaeontology student Gabriel Díaz Yantén, is now circulating on Twitter.

From the video, you can see that the Jakapil kaniukur, far from being frightening, is actually v cute! It’s thought to have been only about 5 feet long and the same weight as a house cat. Wandering around on its two legs, it really wouldn’t have hurt a fly: it is believed to have been a plant-eating herbivore.

Move over iguanas, a new Pets and Home-friendly reptile just dropped! Check out the full reconstruction below.

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