STL Science Center

STL Science Center

14 February 2014

Never Cry In Argentina

Do not cry for Argentina when it comes to dinosaurs; I may be one of the few people I run around with that remembers Madonna had a big hit related to Argentina way back when and that that counts as a pun (I am oh so old these days). My terrible puns aside, this week's dinosaur is one of those very well known and prominent denizens of Mesozoic Argentina. Its remains are well described and, in part, has certainly put Argentina on the map as a carnivore's paradise and one of the most dangerous lands on the Late Cretaceous globe. Aucasaurus garridoi was one of the largest Abelisaurids included in the exclusive Carnotaurini tribe of little armed, big headed, beefy carnivores that ran what is now South America near the end times of dinosaur reign. Aucasaurus was smaller than Carnotaurus but possessed equally fearsome stout jaws, bony protuberances of the skull, and four metacarpals in its small posteriorly direct forelimbs. This strangeness and the oddly long snout, for an Abelisaurid, in addition to the fact that the type specimen is nearly complete from snout to 13th caudal vertebra, make this dinosaur very unique and important to Argentinian paleontology. You will get to see why this week.

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