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The Xenotarsosaurus is a type of theropod dinosaur that belonged to the clade of Saurischia and the family of Abelisauridae. It was discovered in 1980 by Juan Carlos Sciutto, a geologist in the Chubut province of Argentina. Later, paleontologist José Fernando Bonaparte recovered some more bones, and in 1986, Jorge Rodriguez, Olga Giménez, and Graciela Bochatey confirmed the fossils and categorized their genus and species as Xenotarsosaurus bonapartei.
The scientific name of these dinosaurs means 'strange tarsus lizard' because of their unique fused ankle structure. This species is speculated to have been the prime predator of its region and fed on Drusilasaura, a titanosaur, and Secerosaurus, a hadrosaurid. In addition, some studies have shown that members of Abelisauridae were slow-growing compared to other theropods and took at least 20 years to reach maturation.
The fossil representation proved they were theropod bones and consisted of a right hind limb with the tibia, femur, fibula, and ankle astragalocalcaneum along with the anterior dorsal vertebrae. The fossil site was located in the Bajo Barreal Formation, and the Xenotarsosaurus is believed to have lived during the Cenomanian–Turonian period of the late cretaceous epoch.
The word Xenotarsosaurus is pronounced as Zee-noe-tar-so-sore-us.
The Xenotarsosaurus is a theropod dinosaur species.
These dinosaurs are estimated to have lived between the Cenomanian to Turonian CSI geological timescale of the Late Cretaceous epoch.
Although the exact period of their extinction is unknown, theropods are estimated to have gone extinct about 65 million years ago.
The Xenotarsosaurus dinosaur is said to have lived in South America because the fossil was discovered in the Bajo Barreal Formation of the Golfo San Jorge Basin of Chubut province and Santa Cruz in Argentina.
Due to the lack of excavation findings related to these dinosaurs, it isn't easy to narrow down on their exact habitat. However, it is known that during the cretaceous period, the climate was much warmer than the present day.
There is a lack of evidence about the living behavior of the Xenotarsosaurus. However, it has been suggested that some theropods lived in raised their young in cooperative packs and would socialize in several ways which are not clearly known.
The lifespan of the Xenotarsosaurus has not been studied, but evidence suggests that several theropods had a lifespan of around 10-20 years.
Although the exact form of reproduction among the Xenotarsosaurus is unknown, there have been some speculations about the reproductive cycle of most theropods. Firstly, fossils of theropods have proven that some of them showed sexual dimorphism, and their specific feature used for sexual display are on their heads, such as the two horns above the eyes of the Xenotarsosaurus. Based on the fossil discoveries as well as the behavior and anatomy of the existing relatives of dinosaurs, such as large crocodiles like the Saltwater Crocodile and birds, it is known that these reptiles were oviparous, i.e., egg-laying. It is also speculated that later theropods had similar sex organs as birds, and their eggs were fertilized internally. The unearthing of nest and egg fossils confirm that theropods laid hard-shelled eggs, and some nests have shown clutch sizes of up to 40 eggs. Medium-sized dinosaur species followed a pattern of laying their eggs in tight clusters instead of spreading out. Theropod eggs are elongated and around 5-21 in (12.7-53.3 cm) long, depending on the species. Apart from the above, information about parental care and brooding behavior is almost impossible to find out.
All of what is known about the Xenotarsosaurus is related to the fossil specimen found in Bajo Barreal Formation in Argentina. These comprise the right hind leg bones, including the ankle astragalocalcaneum, femur, fibula, and tibia, and two anterior dorsal vertebrae. Since they belong to Abelisauridae, they would have had two horns above their eyes with forelimbs tinier than those of the T-Rex and a knobbly back.
The number of bones in the body of Xenotarsosaurus dinosaurs is unknown because only the right hind leg bones, including the ankle astragalocalcaneum, femur, fibula, and tibia, and two anterior dorsal vertebrae of their bodies have been discovered.
It is almost impossible to derive the communication patterns of the Xenotarsosaurus due to the lack of research and fossil findings.
The exact speed at which these theropods could move has not been discovered. However, based on calculations of feet size and footfalls of several medium-sized theropods, it can be concluded that they moved at a speed of 26.84 mph (43.2 kph).
Based on scientific calculations, the weight of the Xenotarsosaurus may range between 948-1,654 lb (430-750 kg), which is less than that of a mature Pacific Walrus.
The male and female of these dinosaurs do not have separate names. It has one name, Xenotarsosaurus, which means 'strange tarsus lizard.'
The young dinosaurs can be called nestlings or hatchlings, and theropods can also be called chicks.
The diet of this species is carnivorous, and some observations suggest that they used to feed on Drusilasaura, a titanosaur, and Secerosaurus, a hadrosaurid.
Considering these dinosaurs we the prime predators of the region they were found, they would have been quite aggressive when capturing their prey.
The Xenotarsosaurus, which means strange tarsus lizard, received this because of the unique fusion of two of its ankle bones, a feature quite unusual for theropods.
Although both these theropod species belonged to Abelisauridae and were found in South America, they are not entirely similar and belong to a separate genus. The Carnotaurus is a large theropod, while the Xenotarsosaurus is a medium-sized one.
The Ekrixinatosaurus is estimated to have been the largest member of Abelisauridae with a striking length of up to 29.5-32.8 ft (9-10 m).
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Dwarf Crocodile facts and Water Dragon facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Xenotarsosaurus coloring pages.
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