Mapusaurus (Earth lizard)
Mapusaurus (Earth lizard)
Named By : Rodolfo Coria & Philip J. Currie - 2006
Diet : Carnivore
Size : Estimated 10 – 13 meters long
Type of Dinosaur : Large Theropod
Type Species : M. roseae (type)
Found in : Argentina - Huincul Formation
When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 99-94 million years ago
Mapusaurus, which means “Earth Lizard”, was a gigantic carcharodontosaurid carnosaurian dinosaur that lived from approximately 97 to 93,000 years ago in what is now Argentina.
Mapusaurus was discovered at Canadon Del Gato in 1997. It was found from exposures of the Huincul Formation (Rio Limay Subgroup Cenomanian), between 1997 and 2001 by the Argentinian–Canadian Dinosaur Project. In 2006, Phil Currie and Rodolfo Coria, paleontologists, described it and gave its name.
Mapusaurus, which means ‘of land’ or of the Earth in Mapuche, and Greek sauros which means ‘lizard’, is the name it takes. Mapusaurus roseae is the type species. It was named after the rose-colored rocks in which fossils were discovered and Rose Letwin who sponsored expeditions that recovered them.
Mapusaurus roseae is the designated holotype of the genus and its type species. It’s an isolated right nose (MCF-PVPH-108.1 Museo Carmen Funes Paleontologia De Vertebrados Plaza Huincul, Neuquen). Based on the additional skeletal elements, twelve paratypes were created. The majority of the skeleton can be viewed together from the many elements found in the Mapusaurus bone-bed.
Mapusaurus was a large, theropod and roughly the same size as its close relative Giganotosaurus. The largest individuals were approximately 11.5 meters (38 feet) to 12.6 metres (41 feet) in length and weighed between 3 and 5 metric tons (3.3 short tonnes) to 5.5 short tons. Coria (2006) gave a precise estimate for Mapusaurus in Table 1 (appendix Lll). This is the animal to whom femur PVPH-208.203 belonged. It is 10.2 meters (33 feet) long.
Coria and Currie note the presence of isolated bones from at least one longer individual, but do not provide a figure, instead finding the larger bones coherent with an individual of comparable size to Giganotosaurus holotype estimated at 12.2 meters (40 ft) in length, although not with the same exact proportions, having taller and wider neural spines, a more elongate fibula (86 centimeters (34 in) compared to 83.5 centimeters (32.9 in)) but more slender (81-89% the width as in Giganotosaurus) as well as a wider pubic shaft in minimal dimensions (10% wider as indicated by a 7.8 centimeters (3.1 in) long fragment catalogued as MCF-PVPH-108.145), and with a differently proportioned skull, shorter in length than Giganotosaurus because the maxilla is not elongated (12 teeth compared to 14 in Carcharodontosaurus), but deeper in proportion due to this, as well as narrower (due to the narrow nasals). A fragmentary maxilla can be compared to the Giganotosaurus-sized person (MCF-PVPH-108.1169). An axis neural arch (MCF-PVPH-108.13) and a fragment of the scapular blade are both the exact same size as the elements in Giganotosaurus. The estimated weight of 3,600 kilograms (6,600lb) comes from a 1,300 millimeter (51 in.) long femur and a 455 millimeters (17.9in.) circumference (MCF–PVPH-208.234).
Holtz estimated that the animal’s maximum length was 12.6 meters (41 feet). Drew Eddy (2011) and Julia Clarke (2011) cited this estimate. It was also cited in a phylogenetic analysis by Canale and al. (2014). Gregory Paul provided a lower estimate of 11.5 meters (36.7 ft) as well as 5 metric tons (5 short tons).
Mapusaurus was found to have autapomorphies (or unique traits) in areas of the skeleton that Giganotosaurus did not keep. Mapusaurus is only slightly different from Giganotosaurus, as it lacks a second opening in the middle quadrate and has some differences in the topology of its nasal rugosities.