There have been many dinosaur-related discoveries lately but mostly just different findings on things we already knew about, but recently a new species of dinosaur was found in Spain.
- The newly found dinosaur had its spinal bone coming out of its back
- The Morelladon was medium sized
- The sail on the dinosaur’s back could have acted as a thermoregulator
Although there were some discoveries about triceratops in China last week, what researchers found in Spain is completely new to science. The fossils represent the partial skeleton of a dinosaur which scientists have named Morelladon beltrani. The parts of the skeleton were some pelvic bones and vertebrae. According to scientists’ measurements the dinosaur was of medium size: 20 feet long, 8 feet tall, weighing about two tons and it walked on all four legs.
The Morelladon was a herbivore which lived about 125 million years ago. What’s special about it is its spinal bones. It looks like the vertebrae showed the dinosaur had a sail on its back. To be more precise, the bones on its back were positioned vertically and looked like they were coming out.
Although researchers cannot point to the exact use of such a ‘body design’, they tend to believe that the sail was used for thermoregulation. Basically, the sail somehow kept the dinosaur’s body at a healthy temperature. How can such a sail maintain the body’s temperature? Well, it appears that the sail was similar to a camel’s hump and just as the hump of a camel stores water and food supplies, the dinosaur’s sail probably stored fat extra fat that helped with its body temperature.
However, these are only suppositions as researcher couldn’t find a proof for this theory. Some think that the sail didn’t have any purpose and it was simply for display. Therefore, more research will be done to find out more about this dinosaur.
Regardless of the dinosaur’s look, the discovery is quite important as it indicates that in the early Cretaceous period, the dinosaurs were extremely diverse. The herbivores could be found in great numbers and the main predator was the Baryonyx.
Whether the sail was just an ‘ornament’ or a ‘storage room’ or a thermoregulator, remains to be found. Until then, scientists are content that the findings shed more light on the diversity of dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period.
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