The National Museum of Rio de Janeiro announced on Thursday the discovery of a new species of “very rare” dinosaur, a “toothless” theropod that lived between 70 and 80 million years ago in southern Brazil.
Baptized as ‘Berthasaura leopoldinae’, this species of theropod dinosaur (bipedal), of small size with approximately 1 meter in length and 80 centimeters in height, was identified after analyzing a set of fossils found in the Cruzeiro do Oeste municipality, in the state of Paraná, between 2011 and 2014.
According to a statement from the National Museum, managed by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), “although it belongs to the theropods, where carnivorous forms with teeth predominate, Berthasaura had a horny beak, without teeth (…), different to all the species found in the country so far “.
The study, done in conjunction with the Centro Paleontológico de la Universidad do Contestado (Cenpaleo), was published this Thursday in the scientific journal Nature.
The director of the UFRJ National Museum, paleontologist Alexander Kellner, highlighted the good level of conservation of the fossils found.
“We have remains of the skull and jaw, vertebral column, pectoral and pelvic girdles and fore and hind limbs, which makes ‘Bertha’ one of the most complete dinosaurs found in the Brazilian Cretaceous period,” Kellner explained at a press conference.
Paleontologists highlighted that the fact that ‘Bertha’ has no teeth was “a real surprise” that raised doubts about her diet.
“That of the teeth raises doubts about the type of diet of the animal. This does not mean that because it does not have teeth it cannot eat meat, since many birds, such as the hawk and the vulture, do. Most likely it was an omnivorous animal, since the environment was inhospitable and it needed to take advantage of what it had available, “declared Geovane Alves Souza, a doctoral student at UFRJ and one of the study’s authors.
‘Berthasaura leopoldinae’ was named in homage to Bertha Lutz, an eminent Brazilian scientist closely linked to the National Museum, to Empress Maria Leopoldina, wife of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, for her role as promoter of the study of natural sciences, and the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school.
jm / mel / rsr / ag