140 Million-Year-Old Spined Dinosaur Discovered In Patagonia

The sharp spine-backed dinosaur was a herbivore.

spined dinosaur
Picture of a replica of a "Bajadasaurus pronuspinax", a new long-spined dinosaur found in Patagonia, during its presentation in Buenos Aires, on February 4, 2019. (Photo by Juan MABROMATA / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

A dinosaur that used a row of spines on its back to fend off enemies 140 million years ago was discovered in Patagonia.

According to Scientific Reports, the Bajadasaurus pronuspinax, a species of dicraeosauridae, was found in Argentina.

“We believe that the long and sharp spines—very long and thin—on the neck and back of Bajadasaurus and Amargasaurus cazaui (another dicraeosauridae) must have been to deter possible predators,” Pablo Gallina, an assistant researcher at the state council of scientific and technical investigations (CONICET) and Maimonides University, said in a statement.

“We think that had they been just bare bone structures or covered only by skin, they could have been easily broken or fractured with a blow or when being attacked by other animals,” he added. “These spines must have been covered by a keratin sheath similar to what happens in the horns of many mammals.”

Scientist also believe the spines could have been used to attract mates or regulate the herbivore’s temperature.

“Studies suggest this animal spent much of its time feeding on ground plants while its eye sockets, close to the top of its skull, allowed it to key an eye on what was happening around it,” CONICET explained, ready to launch forward, puncturing would-be predators with its spines.

The fossils were found near the same area where, in 1993, the biggest carnivorous dinosaur of all time was discovered.

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