(MENAFN – Gulf Times) Scientists in Chile’s driest Atacama Desert, the world’s driest, have discovered the remains of a hitherto unknown species of dinosaur that lived millions of years ago among lush greenery in today’s lunar landscape of rock and sand.
A team led by Chilean geologist Carlos Arévalo discovered the remains of Arackar licanantay, meaning ‘the bones of the Atacama in the Kunza language, 75km south of the desert town of Copiapó.
The so-called titanosaurus had a small head and a long neck and tail, as well as an unusually flat back compared to others like it.
Recent paleontological research suggests that Arackar lived amidst flowering plants, ferns, and palm trees during the Cretaceous period 66-80 million years ago.
In contrast, parts of the Atacama today, without rain, have not supported plant or animal life for a hundred years.
The discovery of titanosaurs on the western side of the Andes Mountains in South America is rare, although several species have been found in Argentina and Brazil, further east.
The remains of the dinosaurs were first discovered in the 1990s, and scientists described them in the journal Cretaceous Research.
Arackar also appears to be smaller in size than some other titanosaurs.
Scientists say the Argentinosaurus, discovered on the east side of the Andes in neighboring Argentina, was more than four times longer.
The remains of the dinosaurs will eventually be exhibited in the Chilean Museum of Natural History.
However, for now, the museum is closed due to coronavirus restrictions.
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