© Reuters. Herbivorous dinosaur whose scientific remains were discovered in the Atacama desert
By Fabian Cambero
SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Scientists in Chile’s arid Atacama Desert, the world’s driest, have discovered the remains of a previously unknown dinosaur species that lived millions of years ago in lush vegetation in what is now a lunar landscape of rocks and sand.
A team led by Chilean geologist Carlos Arévalo unearthed the remains of Arackar licanantay, which means “Atacama bones” in the Kunza language, 75 kilometers south of the desert town of Copiapó. The so-called titanosaur had a small head, long neck, and long tail, as well as an unusually flat back compared to others like him.
Recent paleontological studies suggest that Arackar lived among flowering plants, ferns, and palm trees during the Cretaceous Period of 66 to 80 million years ago. Parts of today’s Atacama, on the other hand, have been without rain for a hundred years and support little plant or animal life.
The discovery of a titanosaur on the western side of the Andes of South America is rare, although several species have been found in Argentina and Brazil further east.
The remains of the dinosaur were first discovered in the 1990s and were described by scientists in the journal Cretaceous Research.
Arackar also appears smaller than some other titanosaurs. The Argentinosaurus, discovered on the east side of the Andes in neighboring Argentina, was more than four times as long, scientists said.
The remains of the dinosaur will eventually be on display at Chile’s Natural History Museum, although it is currently closed due to coronavirus restrictions.
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