What is six meters long, carnivorous, and roamed the South American region of Patagonia 90 million years ago, unknown before now? Researchers in Argentina on Wednesday announced the answer: a new dinosaur.
"We thought we had found dinosaurs from the Carnotaurus or Gigantosaurus genus, but instead we stumbled upon a lineage that we hadn't seen before," paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia said in a presentation at Buenos Aires' Cultural Centre of Science.
The dinosaur, dubbed "Gualicho" in honor of a Patagonian aboriginal goddess, was unearthed in 2007 near the town of El Choco in Argentina's central Rio Negro province, which lies at the northern edge of Patagonia. Analysis of the fossils did not begin until 2012.
The dinosaur appears to be related to Deltadromeus dinosaurs, which lived in Africa in the Cretaceous era, Apasteguia said. But its two-fingered arms looked more like those of a Tyrannosaurus.
"Gualicho" is part of a lineage that developed in the southern hemisphere and includes dinosaurs that lived in Australia.
Apasteguia said paleontologists hope it will help them learn more about carnivorous dinosaurs in South America.
"We think we know everything, and then we come face to face with a new lineage," he said.