New Apex Dinosaur Discovered With Huge Claws Was A 'Fearsome Killer'

A newly discovered dinosaur calledLlukalkan aliocranianushas been detailed in a new study published in theJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology. The dinosaur was similar in appearance to the T-rex and was likely, according to the study, a 'fearsome killer' that prowled Patagonia around 80 million years ago.

Llukalkanroamed around the region now known as Argentina during the Late Cretaceous period, according to the new study, which describes a creature that resembled the tyrannosaur rex in many ways but with some distinct differences. Among other things, this particular dinosaur likely had different hearing capabilities compared to other abelisaurids.

The shape of theLlukalkan's skull — short and rough — hints at hearing capabilities akin to that of modern crocodiles, accordingto the study. As well, the newly discovered dinosaur had massive claws that may have allowed it to stab prey, razor-sharp teeth, a powerful sense of smell, and a bone-crushing bite.

Fossilized remains of theLlukalkanwere found in a part of Argentina called the Bajo de la Carpa Formation — and, the researchers note, they were only around half a mile from the fossilized remains of anotherfurileusaurian abelisauridcalled theViavenator exxoni.

With this latest development, nearly 10 Abelisauridae species of theropod dinosaurs have been discovered in Patagonia. These dinosaurs would have walked upright on legs, using the huge claws on their feet to compensate for their relatively tiny arms. The findings tease the potential presence of other undiscovered abelisaurids in the region.

Image via Jorge Blanco and Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology