An entirely new species of dinosaur discovered in New Mexico adds a whole new dimension to our understanding of the age of the dinosaurs.
The dinosaur discovery came from 20 fossil skeleton fragments, uncovered in the Ojo Alamo Formation in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico. Together, the fossils reveal a species dromaeosaurid previously unknown to science: Dineobellator.
The fossils offer detailed insights into exactly what this feathered, carnivorous creature from 67 million years ago would have looked like. They also advance scientists’ understanding of dinosaur evolution during that very Late Cretaceous period.
“I prefer to think of these fossils in a way that brings these animals back to life, thinking of them as real living, breather animals and not just bones,” Steven Jasinski, a paleontologist from State Museum of Pennsylvania, and lead researcher on this study.
“Here we were able to hypothesize about various aspects of its behavior, its appearance with feathers, and some of the unique events in this animals life that caused it to be injured,” he says.
Curiously, the fossils also reveal this dinosaur had an injured rib that had healed.
“It also had a unique gouge and puncture on the hand claw, which is the same size as the tip of the claw, suggesting two Dineobellator got in a fight and one clawed the other one,” Jasinski says, speculating it may have been a fight over resources or over a mate.
“All of this exciting information helps us visualize what this incredible animal may have been like in life.”
“Not only can we picture [this dinosaur] 67 million years ago in northwestern New Mexico, but we can also understand more about this one individual’s life.”
The discovery is detailed in a study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports.