New discovery: The fossilized remains of a never-before-seen armored dinosaur that was the size of a house cat have been unearthed in Argentina.  A computer simulation has brought the new species Jakapil kaniukura to life (pictured)

Never-before-seen armored dinosaur is unearthed in Argentina

Steggy’s miniature cousin? Fossilized remains of a never-before-seen armored dinosaur the size of a CAT with a row of spines running down its back are unearthed in Argentina

  • The remains of a never-before-seen armored dinosaur unearthed in Argentina
  • Experts say species Jakapil kaniukura looks like primitive relative of Stegosaurus
  • Weighed as much as a house cat and probably grew to about 5ft (1.5 meters) long
  • May represent a lineage of armored dinosaurs previously unknown to science

The fossilized remains of a never-before-seen armored dinosaur that was the size of a house cat have been unearthed in Argentina.

Palaeontologists say Jakapil kaniukura looks like a primitive relative of Ankylosaurus or Stegosaurus and may represent an entire lineage of species previously unknown to science.

It dates back to the Cretaceous period and lived between 97 million and 94 million years ago.

J. kaniukura had a row of protective spines running from its neck to its tail, experts said, and probably grew to about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long.

It was a plant eater – with leaf-shaped teeth similar to those of Stegosaurus – likely walked upright and sported a short beak capable of delivering a strong bite.

New discovery: The fossilized remains of a never-before-seen armored dinosaur that was the size of a house cat have been unearthed in Argentina.  A computer simulation has brought the new species Jakapil kaniukura to life (pictured)

New discovery: The fossilized remains of a never-before-seen armored dinosaur that was the size of a house cat have been unearthed in Argentina. A computer simulation has brought the new species Jakapil kaniukura to life (pictured)

Palaeontologists say Jakapil kaniukura looks like a primitive relative of Ankylosaurus or Stegosaurus and may represent an entire lineage of species previously unknown to science

Palaeontologists say Jakapil kaniukura looks like a primitive relative of Ankylosaurus or Stegosaurus and may represent an entire lineage of species previously unknown to science

The species probably would have been able to eat tough, woody vegetation, according to palaeontologists at the Félix de Azara Natural History Foundation in Argentina.

The partial skeleton of the dinosaur was discovered in the Río Negro province in northern Patagonia.

It joins Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, and other armour-backed dinosaurs in a group called Thyreophora.

Most thyreophorans are known from the Northern Hemisphere.

The fossils from the earliest members of this group also more commonly date back to the Jurassic period, about 201 million years ago to 163 million years ago.

The discovery of J. kaniukura ‘shows that early thyreophorans had a much broader geographic distribution than previously thought,’ palaeontologists Facundo J. Riguetti, Sebastián Apesteguía and Xabier Pereda-Suberbiola wrote in the new paper.

The partial skeleton of the dinosaur was discovered in the Río Negro province in northern Patagonia

The partial skeleton of the dinosaur was discovered in the Río Negro province in northern Patagonia

It dates back to the Cretaceous period and lived between 97 million and 94 million years ago

It dates back to the Cretaceous period and lived between 97 million and 94 million years ago

The fossils from the earliest members of this group also more commonly date back to the Jurassic period, about 201 million years ago to 163 million years ago.

The fossils from the earliest members of this group also more commonly date back to the Jurassic period, about 201 million years ago to 163 million years ago.

The dinosaur was a plant eater – with leaf-shaped teeth similar to those of Stegosaurus – likely walked upright and sported a short beak capable of delivering a strong bite

The dinosaur was a plant eater – with leaf-shaped teeth similar to those of Stegosaurus – likely walked upright and sported a short beak capable of delivering a strong bite

It joins Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, and other armour-backed dinosaurs in a group called Thyreophora

It joins Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, and other armour-backed dinosaurs in a group called Thyreophora

It was also surprising that this ancient lineage of thyreophorans survived all the way into the Late Cretaceous in South America, they added.

In the Northern Hemisphere, these older types of thyreophorans mostly appear to have gone extinct by the Middle Jurassic.

But on the southern supercontinent Gondwana, however, they apparently survived well into the Cretaceous.

Some later thyreophorans survived longer — including Ankylosaurus, which went extinct with the rest of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

A computer simulation from Gabriel Díaz Yantén, a Chilean palaeoartist and palaeontology student at Río Negro National University, has brought the new species to life.

It shows what it may have looked like when it walked the Earth.

The discovery was revealed in a journal called Scientific Reports.

KILLING OFF THE DINOSAURS: HOW A CITY-SIZED ASTEROID WIPED OUT 75 PER CENT OF ALL ANIMAL AND PLANT SPECIES

Around 66 million years ago non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out and more than half the world’s species were obliterated.

This mass extinction paved the way for the rise of mammals and the appearance of humans.

The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

The asteroid slammed into a shallow sea in what is now the Gulf of Mexico.

The collision released a huge dust and soot cloud that triggered global climate change, wiping out 75 per cent of all animal and plant species.

Researchers claim that the soot necessary for such a global catastrophe could only have come from a direct impact on rocks in shallow water around Mexico, which are especially rich in hydrocarbons.

Within 10 hours of the impact, a massive tsunami waved ripped through the Gulf coast, experts believe.

Around 66 million years ago non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out and more than half the world's species were obliterated.  The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event (stock image)

Around 66 million years ago non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out and more than half the world’s species were obliterated. The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event (stock image)

This caused earthquakes and landslides in areas as far as Argentina.

While investigating the event researchers found small particles of rock and other debris that was shot into the air when the asteroid crashed.

Called spherules, these small particles covered the planet with a thick layer of soot.

Experts explain that losing the light from the sun caused a complete collapse in the aquatic system.

This is because the phytoplankton base of almost all aquatic food chains would have been eliminated.

It’s believed that the more than 180 million years of evolution that brought the world to the Cretaceous point was destroyed in less than the lifetime of a Tyrannosaurus rex, which is about 20 to 30 years.

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