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Bone remains found in La Rioja that could be assigned to three different dinosaurs

The latest findings in the place of “Peña Cárcena”, in Igea, (La Rioja), constitute “a success” for the field of world paleontology, since numerous fossilized bone elements have been recovered, possibly assignable to three different dinosaurs, -two herbivores and one carnivore-, as well as associated fauna, such as fossilized bone fish.

It has been detailed by the paleontologist Xabier Pereda Suberbiola, researcher at the University of the Basque Country, and Francisco Sáez-Benito, honorary director of the Paleontological Center of Igea, at the foot of the site, once the excavations have been completed. The research team is made up of paleontologists from the universities of La Rioja and the Basque Country, in Spain; and those of Río Negro, in Argentina; and Qeesland, in Australia; as well as geologists, biologists and restorers specializing in paleontological remains, along with palaeontology fans.

In one of the sites, whose excavation began in 2019 but which was paralyzed in 2020 due to the pandemic, new skeletal remains of a large dinosaur have been recovered: vertebrae, ribs and appendicular remains, such as femur, tibia, or femur, fibula; that could correspond to a sauropod -a long-necked dinosaur (herbivore) -, which can be confirmed in the study that the team’s scientists will do, once the material has been prepared.

In this same area, but in a site excavated this summer for the first time, 60 fossil remains have been recovered, which could belong to a ornithopod dinosaur -a bipedal herbivore- of medium to large size, between 6 and 7 meters in length. Among these 60 remains, the researchers specified, two teeth with a shape and size similar to an Iguanodon. Other identified remains are bones of the axial skeleton, such as vertebrae and ribs, as well as elements of the pelvic girdle.

In addition, in this same deposit they have been discovered on the surface and signaled 50 other fossil elements of a large theropod dinosaur -a carnivore-, possibly assignable to a spinosaurus. Among these 50 fossils there are, mainly, ribs and vertebral remains from different areas of the axial skeleton.

A possible new genre

If the first impressions on the dimensions of this theropod are confirmed, they have specified, its size would exceed 9 meters in length, with what would make it the largest carnivorous dinosaur located to date in La Rioja and one of the largest in Spain, but it is an extreme that has to be confirmed.

These new findings are added to the fossilized skeletal remains recently located in this same mountain, corresponding to a small ornithopod dinosaur -vegetarian-, found in this area in 1985, and that could determine a new genus of this animal, although it cannot be determined until the investigation is complete.

The excavations carried out this year in this mountain –about 80 kilometers from Logroño-, they have indicated, highlight the great scientific and heritage value that it holds for paleontology, whose fertility in fossils contributes knowledge to the functioning of this ecosystem from 120 million years ago. The remains recovered this year have been deposited at the Igea Paleontological Center for their subsequent restoration, cataloging and study.

Currently, two members of the team also work in this Center in the restoration of “Claws”, name with which the remains found of a carnivorous dinosaur of medium-large size, extracted in the excavations of 2018, have been coined.

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