New dinosaur species unearthed in Venezuela

October 8, 2014 by Bob Yirka report
Tachiraptor admirabilis gen et sp. nov. Holotype right tibia. Credit: Royal Society Open Science, DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140184

( —A team of paleontologists with members from Brazil, Venezuela, the U.S. and Germany has found fossil evidence of a previously unknown dinosaur in Venezuela. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the team describes how they found the fossils and where they fit into the historical record.

Because the bone fossils were found in the Venezuelan state of Tachira the dino has been named Tachiraptor admirabilis, a relatively small dinosaur believed to have measured just 1.5 meters from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail. The research team believes the bones date to approximately 201 million years ago. That would put the creature that left them behind as living just a million years after the mass extinction that marked the conclusion of the Triassic period and the beginning stages of the Jurassic.

Analysis of the fossils, two leg bones (from two different creatures), suggest the new dinosaur was a bipedal theropod—a meat eating predator. The were found embedded in solid rock that was originally sediment. Prior research suggests the area was likely volcanic during the time T. admirabilis was chasing prey—part of a rift valley that was itself part of Gondwana, a leftover piece of the supercontinent Pangaea. The researchers believe the new dinosaur was likely an ancestor to the familiar and much larger of the later Jurassic, such as T. Rex.

In addition to establishing the existence of a new dinosaur, the find in Venezuela is unique because very few of any kind have been found in the area, mainly due, the researchers note, to little work being done. Unlike other fossil rich areas, sites in the northern part of South America are covered with lush vegetation making it not only difficult to figure out where to dig, but to get to them, and carry out excavations. The recent finds only came about due to road digging efforts. That is changing, however, just this past summer another team found nearby of Laquintasaura, a grass eating creature that was believed to live in herds, and which likely was a prey for T. admirabilis as it appears they were alive during the same time period.

The researchers are hoping that more research in the area and others like it that have not been investigated, will help flesh out the dinosaur family tree.

Explore further: Early dino was turkey-sized, social plant-eater

More information: New dinosaur (Theropoda, stem-Averostra) from the earliest Jurassic of the La Quinta formation, Venezuelan Andes, Royal Society Open Science,

Related Stories

Early dino was turkey-sized, social plant-eater

August 6, 2014

The forerunner of dinosaurs like three-horned Triceratops was a bird-hipped creature the size of a turkey that lived in herds in South America and liked to munch on ferns, scientists said Wednesday.

First dinosaurs identified from Saudi Arabia

January 7, 2014

Dinosaur fossils are exceptionally rare in the Arabian Peninsula. An international team of scientists from Uppsala University, Museum Victoria, Monash University, and the Saudi Geological Survey have now uncovered the first ...

Recommended for you

Fossils reveal unseen 'footprint' maker

January 17, 2017

Fossils found in Morocco from the long-extinct group of sea creatures called trilobites, including rarely seen soft-body parts, may be previously unseen animals that left distinctive fossil 'footprints' around the ancient ...

Study finds links between swearing and honesty

January 16, 2017

It's long been associated with anger and coarseness but profanity can have another, more positive connotation. Psychologists have learned that people who frequently curse are being more honest. Writing in the journal Social ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 08, 2014
"approximately 201 million years ago" "a grass eating creature which likely was prey for T. admirabilis it appears they were alive during the same time period."

Grass seems to have evolved at most 65MYA

Read more at:
5 / 5 (1) Oct 09, 2014
The section of the article referencing grass does not relate to Tachiraptor admirabilis but to Laquintasaura venezuelae. It appears that Laquintasaura venezuelae lived after grass evolved.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.