Scientists Discover Fossils of Dinosaurs in Patagonia

Researchers in the Patagonia region of Chile have discovered the southernmost dinosaur fossils yet discovered outside of Antarctica. The fossils include the remnants of megaraptors, who, prior to their cataclysmic extinction, dominated the food chain in the region. Megaraptors were meat-eating dinosaurs that roamed areas of South America 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. The Journal of South American Earth Sciences reported that fossils measuring up to 10 meters in length had been discovered.

The Chilean Antarctic Institute’s director is Marcelo Leppe (INACH). “A component was absent,” he said Reuters. “We knew where there were large mammals, there would also be large carnivores, but we hadn’t found them yet.” Between 2016 and 2020, the remains were discovered in the Magallanes Basin in Chile’s far south, in the Rio de las Chinas Valley. The researchers also discovered some peculiar remnants of unenlagia, a dinosaur that resembled a velociraptor and was probably covered in feathers. Researchers Jared Amudeo of the University of Chile claimed that the fossils possessed unique characteristics not found in comparable remnants discovered in Brazil or Argentina.

“It could be a new species, which is very likely, or belong to another family of dinosaurs that are closely related,” he stated. Further evidence is required, he continued. The findings also provide new information on the conditions of the meteorite impact on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. About 65 million years ago, that meteorite might have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Leppe mentioned sharp drops in temperature over modern-day Patagonia as well as periods of extreme cold that could have lasted for thousands of years. For the most part of the Cretaceous epoch, however, the climate was quite warm. “This world was already in crisis before (the meteorite) and this is evidenced in the rocks of the Rio de las Chinas Valley,” he stated.

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