STL Science Center

STL Science Center

17 August 2012

Scorpion Hunting

The Cretaceous of Argentina was a dangerous place filled with large carnivores and large herbivores. There were also small animals of course, but unlike in the northern half of the world, there were still giant sauropods here that required giant predators to take them down. That's not to say that a T. Rex couldn't take down a titanosaur, they just did not have to where they lived. Regardless, the largest predators in the southern half of the globe were big mean animals from a family called the Abelisaurs. One of them that lived 95 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia was called Skorpiovenator bustingorryi. Skorpiovenator means "scorpion hunter" and was so named because of the large amount of scorpions found in its modern day land. The specific name, bustingorryi, is in honor of the farmer who owned the scorpion infested land, Manuel Bustingorry. The holotype skeleton, the only skeleton thus far found of Skorpiovenator is a rare find actually. The entire skeleton minus some of the bones in the arms and in the tail was found on the Bustingorry farm. Skorpiovenator is a "new" dinosaur, having been first described in 2009 by Canale et al. According to the newest publication by Gregory Paul this places the habitat of Skorpiovenator in the manner of being forest with abundant water and short dry seasons and the main prey item would have been a 40 foot (12meter) long sauropod called Cathartesaura. A lot remains to be discovered about Skorpiovenator, but there is a good amount to discuss already this week and it will be a fun week learning about a newly discovered dinosaur.

Skorpiovenator on Planet Dinosaur

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