Never seen a herbivore! This dinosaur roamed the earth 72 million years ago – we now know what it looks like | world news


Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of a new species of duckbill dinosaurs that lived in Chile 72 million years ago.

The herbivorous creature, named Gonkoken nanoi, weighed up to a tonne and could grow up to 4m long, according to a study published in Science Advances.

The find follows nearly decades of investigation.

An artistic illustration of Gonkoken nanoi. Image: Mauricio Alvarez

In 2013, an expedition led by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) discovered fragments of yellowish bones at the foot of a hill near Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

Jhonathan Alarcon, the study’s lead author, said: “At first we thought it belonged to the same group as other South American hadrosaurs, but as the study progressed we realized that it was something unprecedented.”

He said the researchers had to carefully remove more than 100 pieces of bone, being careful not to damage others.

Paleontologists then had to ensure the remains belonged to the same species and compare them to existing research to ensure it was a new species dinosaur.

Another study author, Alexander Vargas, said: “[The] Gonkoken nanoi is not an advanced duckbill dinosaur, but rather an older transitional lineage of duckbill dinosaurs—an evolutionary connection to advanced forms.”

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The extensive research allowed the scientists to digitally reconstruct the skeleton – and they now plan to create a 3D print so that it can be put on public display.

Gonkoken is a combination of two words from the language of the indigenous Aonikenk people who lived in Patagonia until the late 19th century.

“Gon” means “similar” or “similar” and “koken” means wild duck or swan.

“Nanoi” pays homage to Mario “nano” Ulloa, a former rancher who helped the team with their early discoveries.

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