Dinosaurs have always managed to attract our attention, whether it is with their fossils or with the Jurassic Series! So, when Neurides Martins from Sao Paulo Brazil brushed off the remaining sediment from a tiny tooth, she already knew deep in her heart that she had found a very special species of dinosaurs.
The tooth discovered was the very first piece of the puzzle that led to the discovery of a new and a very rare one dinosaur species. The size of a Great Dane, the new dino species was a carnivore that freely roamed around the deserts almost 90 million years before. The dinosaur walked upright on its hind legs and rested all its body weight on its one long clawed toe, specifically the middle toe out of its 3 toes.
50 years ago, paleontologists had found a very mysterious one-toed footprint in the same region where the fossil was found. But, until its discovery this year, the existence of this new species was not known. With its 3 functioning toes, the new discovered species was a theropod like the Tyrannosaurus rex. This new species is a rare one especially due to its monodactyl behavior, an adaptation that has never earlier been recorded in the previous dinosaurs found in Brazil.
The new species is named Vespersaurus paranaensis after the name of city and the state from where the fossils of the dino species were found. This was the first dinosaur found in the Parana region of Brazil. On June 26, Neurides Martins and her colleagues provided a complete report describing about Vespersaurus paranaensis and its environment. This new fossil was the best preserved theropod ever found in Brazil till date.
When Martins started brushing the 440 pound rock of dirt, she first found the quarter inch long tooth, which was very easy to miss out. But Martins, who is also a historian and the director of Brazil’s Paleontology Museum Cruzeiro do Oesto, knew it deep in their heart that they were moving closer to discovering something more interesting and new. Almost after a month, Martin uncovered the unusual foot of the Vespersaurus paranaensis which later confirmed the dinosaur’s unique moving and hunting features.
About the Vespersaurus paranaensis
The Vespersaurus paranaensis belongs to the Noasaurinae theropod dinosaurs group. The dinosaur has a good length of 5.2 feet, while it stood at a height of 2.6 feet in length. Being a small desert living dinosaur, the animal has pneumatic (hollow and air filed bones), similar to our modern day birds and had a weight of 33 pounds, with arms just half the size of its long legs.
The foot of the Vespersaurus paranaensis were 6 inches long and they were the most important feature in the body that helped the researchers understand this new species. The large sharp knife like claws present on the two toes were majorly used capturing, holding and cutting its prey like other pterosaurs and lizards.
For the time being, Martins is determined to continue her research on the same block, hoping to find more new dinosaur species.