Scientists have analyzed the fossilized skin of a carnotaur (Carnotaurus sastrei) discovered in 1984 in Patagonia and found that it presents a wide range of scales, spikes, bumps and wrinkles, as described in a Article published last month in the journal Cretaceous Research.
Experts have verified that the scales of this dinosaur, which is characterized by presenting two little horns over the eyes, do not decrease in size as they are distributed from the body nucleus towards the tail, while the largest scales are distributed randomly on the thorax and the tail.
More diverse than previously thought
They reveal that one of the largest dinosaurs of the Jurassic was a scavenger and not a predator
“By observing the area of the shoulders, belly and tail we discovered that the skin of this dinosaur was more diverse than previously thought, and that it consisted of large conical skewers randomly distributed surrounded by a network of small elongated diamond-shaped spikes or subcircular scales “, Explain Christophe Hendrickx, paleontologist at the Lillo Executive Unit (Argentina).
It is believed that this theropod, a subspecies characterized by having hollow bones and limbs with three functional fingers, it was a bipedal that lacked feathers and had a scaly skin similar to that of modern lizards.
Researchers have studied six skin fragments taken from the neck, shoulder girdle, thorax and tail of this specimen of Carnotaurus sastrei, which they claim is the best-preserved non-avian theropod with the best skin-preserved known.
What were they for?
They find in Central Asia the remains of the dinosaur that dominated the world before the ‘Tyrannosaurus rex’
One of the fragments has a diamond-like shape, with lengths much longer than they are wide, which resembles the scales of tyrannosaurs, which also lived during the Upper Cretaceous, about 70 million years ago.
In the 1990s, scientists suggested that carnotaurs’ large conical scales could serve as protection during an attack. However, the present study argues that they could simply have had a display function or even decorative.
The presence of this wide range of large and small scales remains a mystery that future research will try to solve, since better understanding the functionality of this scaly skin could help to understand how carnotaurs lived.
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