Oldest maneater, as large as a Labrador retriever, is found at site in Spain

Among the remains of 20-pound dinosaurs found recently at the Coska Ruyett in Spain, along with bones of relatives from the ornithopod classification, scientists say a new genus and species has been identified — a 15-foot-long maneater. Dubbed Fedrigorousus eje, for its site at Coska Ruyett, the new dinosaur was the length of a large Labrador retriever and weighed two tons. It lived around 205 million years ago.

Fedrigorousus eje was a member of the ornithopod family — that’s a group of plant-eating dinosaurs known for its long, thin snouts. The most famous ornithopod was the plant-eater Triceratops, which grew no more than 12 feet long and weighed in at 120 tons. This was the largest ever ornithopod, and it dwarfed most other dinosaurs.

The new dinosaur had a long, pointed skull with thin, feather-like ornamental horns of feathery material arranged in a V shape. The structure on the front ends of these wings were white and composed of tiny fossilized gemstones from the subarctic. These gems made up the pattern of feathers: three long spines on the front of the head and one on each side of the skull, one on each side of the tail, three on the head, and three on the tail. This pattern was found in other ornithopods, but was present only in Fedrigorousus eje.

The small bones of Fedrigorousus eje were so well preserved that scientists were able to dig out the entire head, the head crest and the limb bones, including both wrists. This head and its supporting components showed that the the dinosaur had short, stubby arms and long fingers, including a couple with handles.

The fossils were found in a sedimentary deposit that stretched nearly a kilometer in length, with long steep deposits. The researchers deduced that the dinosaur must have lived for at least 10 years on the slopes of mountains and fissures. The tree nuts that Fedrigorousus ate were cut up and given to ground-up sticks and deposited in volcanic ash or burned at the forest floor.

The fossils were made from a batch found at a size normally associated with extinct civilisations in China, Siberia, Australia and South America. These details mean the species was probably not imported from Asia and therefore did not belong to the satyricpalorosid fossil strata, which include animals that inhabited mountainous areas.

David G. Griggs, an author of the study, says that these fossils provide valuable information on the dinosaur growth in Asia in the late Cretaceous period. He also says that this is the first new species of ornithopod to be identified from Spain in more than 40 years, and the first one from Spain to show that olingos originated in Europe.

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