A group of researchers conducted a study on a fossilized bone forgotten left in a museum and managed to uncover some fascinating information about a particular group of dinosaurs.
It all started when Alessandro Chiarenza, a PhD student from Imperial College London, stumbled upon a fossilized femur while he was visiting the Museum of Geology and Paleontology in Palermo, Italy, back in 2017.
Chirenza, who is the lead author of this study, asked the museum’s permission to examine the bone and his discoveries might offer valuable information about a species of dinosaurs known as Abelisauridae.
These creatures were a group of predatory, carnivorous dinosaurs, which belonged to the Cretaceous period. Their fossils are usually discovered in Africa, South America, the island of Madagascar, as well as the Indian subcontinent.
They were characterized by small forelimbs, sharp teeth, short faces and strong muscular hind limbs.
According to Chiarenza, their study reveals how impressive in stature these dinosaurs really became. Although they looked like they were covered in feathers, they were actually frightening creatures of their time.
Researchers have been wondering for a long time how the Abelisauridae managed to coexist with five other types of predatory dinosaurs without killing each other, with some voices claiming that these groups did not actually live close to each other.
According to Chiarenza, this fossil might actually help answer this question. The PhD student says that while most records show that various types of dinosaurs shared the same environment, this ancient bone suggests that the Abelisauridae lived far away from each other in many types of environments.
This research also proves that museums continue to play a vital role in conserving specimens of great scientific value. The research team is now committed to find other remains of this species in order to get a clearer picture of their history and environment.
According to scientists, the discovery of this bone correlated to the other fossils discovered in the past shows how massive these predatory dinosaurs really became.
The fossilized femur belongs to the Kem Kem Beds region in Morocco, North Africa, and it was discovered in a museum drawer. The reason why it called the researcher’s attention because it displayed prominent carnivorous dinosaur features.
According to Mr. Cau, who is co-author of this paper, the fossilized bone proves that during that period there was something incredibly favorable in Africa, which helped these massive predatory dinosaurs thrive.
Image Source: Dinopedia