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a carnivorous abelisaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Argentina.
Pronunciation: ah-BEL-ee-SOR-us
Meaning: Abel's Lizard
Author/s: Bonaparte and Novas (1985)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Río Negro, Argentina
Chart Position: 256

Abelisaurus comahuensis

Everything we know about Abelisaurus proper we know from a single skull. It's far from complete, with much of the right side missing. But as a general rule of thumb, one side of a theropod skull is pretty much the same as the other, and this one sported so many unique features that Bonaparte and Novas nominated it to anchor an entire family — Abelisauridae — in 1985.

Abelisaurus is often accused having a huge head which is a bit of a liberty bearing in mind we haven't had a sniff of postcrania (non-skull skeleton). However, we can suppose that all abelisaurids shared the same basic layout; broad and short heads with incredibly deep and blunt snouts, crazy short forearms shrunk to little more than wrists and four fingers which can best be described as stumps, all attached to a stout and stocky frame with relatively short but powerful legs. All things considered, this is not a slick design. But you only need to be faster than your next meal and hailing from the Cretaceous southern continents, where lumbering sauropods were a-plenty, power was the order of the day.

Abelisaurids, like the Northern Hemisphere tyrannosaurids, had huge openings in their skull called fenestrae (windows) which acted as load-lighteners, but by comparison they had much smaller teeth. Abelisaurus trimmed the fat further by snubbing the horns or lumpy skull adorments that were popular with their closest relatives. But dimples, pimples and wrinkles on the snout may have been anchor points for a gnarly keratin mask that the opposite sex probably found incredibly alluring. There's no accounting for taste.
Abel's lizard from ComahueEtymology
Abelisaurus is named in honor of the former director of the Cipolletti Museum; Roberto Abel, with the customery Greek suffix "sauros" (male lizard).
The species epithet - comahuensis (KOH-muh-hoo-EN-sis), refers to the Comahue region of Argentina where the fossils were discovered. More often than not place of discovery namings end with the Latin "ensis" which simply means "from".
Although initially thought to be from the Allen Formation, Abelisaurus was actually discovered at Cantera de la Pala Mécanica (aka Cinco Saltos) in the Neuquén group's youngest Formation, the Anacleto (previously known as the Río Colorado Formation), Río Colorado Subgroup, Neuquén Group, Río Negro Province, Argentina.
The holotype (MC 11098, currently housed at the Museo de Cipolleti) is a partial skull measuring 856 mm long.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Campanian
Age range: 83-78 mya
Est. max. length: 8 meters
Est. max. hip height: 3 meters
Est. max. weight: 2.5 tons
Diet: Carnivore
• Bonaparte JF and FE Novas (1985) "Abelisaurus Comahuensis from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia". Ameghiniana 21 (2-4): 259-265
• Tykoski RS and T Rowe (2004) "Ceratosauria" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• Novas FE (2009) "The Age of Dinosaurs in South America".
• Paul GS (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "ABELISAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 26th Jun 2017.