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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/remains-found-in-spain-of-bizarre-dinosaur-with-a-hump-on-its-back/story-e6frg6so-1225916297905

Remains found in Spain of 'bizarre' dinosaur with a hump on its back 
From: AFP 
September 09, 2010 10:36AM 

 
Image of a new species of dinosaur found in Spain with a hump on its back. 
Source: Supplied 

PALAEONTOLOGISTS have found the remains of a strange dinosaur with a hump that 
may be a forerunner of the leviathans which once ruled the planet. 

The fossil was uncovered in the Las Hoyas formation in central Spain's Cuenca 
province, a treasure trove of finds that date to the Lower Cretaceous period of 
between 120 and 150 million years ago.

The nearly-complete skeleton is as exquisite as the dinosaur is "bizarre," 
Fernando Escaso of the Autonomous University of Madrid, said.

"This dinosaur is very remarkable," Professor Escaso said.

"It is a unique specimen. It is the most complete dinosaur ever found in the 
Iberian peninsula and is a new species of theropod," a carnivore that moved on 
two rear limbs.

Six metres long from snout to tailtip, the dinosaur is the earliest member ever 
found of a branch of Carcharodontosauria, the largest predatory dinos that ever 
lived and which until now were thought to be confined to southern continents.

The lineage expanded hugely over the aeons, both in size and number of species.

Its numbers include Giganotosaurus, estimated up to 14.5m long, and 
Carcharodontosaurus, up to 13 metres long, and each weighing some seven or 
eight tonnes.

The new find has jaws and small, clawed forelimbs that bear a resemblance to 
the Tyrannosaurus rex which belongs to a different dinosaur family.

But all similarities end with the spine, which is astonishingly curved and has 
a small hump, Professor Escaso said.

"It is the first time we have ever seen a structure like this on the spine of a 
dinosaur, although it is common on some animals today, such as cows," Professor 
Escaso said.

"At the moment, the function of this structure is unclear. We believe that the 
animal was not diseased because the spine shows no sign of being cracked or 
broken, we think it is a feature of this species. One hypothesis is that it was 
a reservoir of fat."

The new species has been named Concavenator corcovatus, from "Conca," the Latin 
word for Cuenca; "venator," for hunter; and "corcovatus," or hump-backed.

The study is published by the British science journal Nature.

AFP

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