The second word of its name, “aliocranianus”, translates to “unusual skull” in Latin, although if you look at its skull, you will find that it resembles that of a T-Rex, or maybe even the Indominus Rex found in Mundo Jurassic.
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That’s because, like the T-Rex, the Llukalkan aliocranianus was a large-headed dinosaur with small arms and large legs. However, a deeper, more scientific look at the skull reveals that it actually seems to indicate that Llukalkan aliocranianus had better hearing than most other dinosaurs of this type.
“A peculiarity of this dinosaur is that it has cavities in the ear area that other abelisaurids did not have, which could have given this species different auditory capacities, possibly a greater hearing range,” said the paleontologist from the National University of San Luis, Argentina. Federico Gianechini said in his published research article about this discovery. “This, along with its keen sense of smell, would have given this species great capabilities as a predator.”
Many fossilized pieces of this dinosaur, including teeth, parts of its jaws, the bones around the eye sockets, and more, were discovered in the Bajo de la Carpa Formation in Argentina. This new species of dinosaurs is estimated to have walked the Earth about 80 million years ago, as HuffPost noted.According to HuffPost, a press release from Gianechini and his study co-author Ariel Méndez reveals that abelisaurids were still alive and well just before all dinosaurs went extinct. It states that while Tyrannosaurus rex was busy ruling the Northern Hemisphere, Llukalkan alliocranianus, which was “one of the 10 currently known abelisaurid species”, was busy “flourishing in the Southern Hemisphere.”
The press release says that the Llukalkan aliocranianus was “probably among the top predators” of Patagonia “due to its formidable size (up to five meters long), extremely powerful bite, very sharp teeth, huge claws on its feet and its sharp sense of smell. “
To read more about dinosaurs, check out this story about bat-winged dinosaurs that took 150 million years to become expert fliers, and then read this story about a T-Rex and a Triceratops locked in the same fossil. See this story about scientists who say they “have no intention of breeding dinosaurs” after extracting DNA from insects preserved in resin.
Wesley LeBlanc is a news writer, guide writer, and science guru for IGN. You can follow it on Twitter @LeBlancWes.