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 Carnotaurus sastrei

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PostSubject: Carnotaurus sastrei   Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:21 pm

Carnotaurus sastrei



Carnotaurus (its name means "meat bull") is known from a single, nearly complete skeleton that had skin impressions over much of the skull and body. It was so complete because it was preserved in a large concretion (a lump of rock that is harder than the rock around it) that protected the bones and skin impressions. Carnotaurus lived in Patagonia, Argentina (La Colonia Formation) during the Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous, and was discovered by José F. Bonaparte, who has uncovered many other South American dinosaurs. It belonged to Abelisauridae, a family of rather primitive theropod dinosaurs known exclusively from southern continents, except for the European Tarascosaurus, which remains have been found in France.

Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Abelisauridae
Subfamily: Carnotaurinae
Tribe: Carnotaurini
Genus: Carnotaurus

Carnotaurus was a large theropod, about 9.0 m (30 ft) in length, 3 m tall at the hips, and weighing about 1,600 kg (1.76 tons). Its skull had stout horns above its very small eye sockets. Its bladelike, serrated teeth were much like those of other theropods. The arms of Carnotaurus were short for its body size, but unlike Tyrannosaurus with its slender arm bones, the arms of Carnotaurus were stout. Its arms were so short that it almost looked like the hands were attached to the upper arm bone (the humerus), It is also characterized by its unusually long neck (compared to other theropods), and its small head with box-shaped jaws. The eyes of Carnotaurus faced forward, which is unusual in a dinosaur, and may indicate binocular vision and depth perception. There is a rather puzzling contrast between Carnotaurus’ deep, robust-looking skull and its shallow, slender lower jaw. So far no-one has worked out what this might imply about its methods of feeding.



The most exciting feature of this animal is its skin. It is more common to find skin impressions of hadrosaurs (duckbilled dinosaurs); theropod skin impressions are rare. The skin impressions of Carnotaurus show that its skin was made of many low, disklike scales with larger semiconical scales in rows along its sides. Like the skin of all known dinosaurs, these scales did not overlap like scales on some lizards and snakes. Carnotaurus and other South American Cretaceous dinosaurs were much different from related animals in other areas of the world, even North America. This group of animals supports the theory that during the Cretaceous Period South America was isolated from the rest of the world, so the animals evolved differently.

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