Episode 113 is all about Aucasaurus, an abelisaurid that lived in the late Cretaceous in what is now Argentina.
Like listening about dinosaurs? Then check out our growing community on Patreon!
Big thanks to all our current Patreon supporters!
You can listen to our free podcast, with all our episodes, on iTunes at:
In this episode, we discuss:
- The dinosaur of the day: Aucasaurus
- A medium-sized carnivorous theropod that live in the late Cretaceous in what is now Argentina
- Found in a joint expedition in 1999 with the Museo Municipal Carmen Funes and the Natural History Museum of LA
- Named in 2002 by Coria, Chiappe, and Dingus
- Type species is Aucasaurus garridoi
- Found in Auca Mahuevo, a Patagonian site where many sauropod eggs and embryos have been found
- Name “Auca” comes from the Mapuche language, and refers to where it was found
- The species name “garridoi” is in honor of Alberto Garrido, who found the holotype
- Most complete abelisaurid that has been described so far (only the end of the tail is missing)
- Because the specimen found is so complete, it helped clarify the postcranial anatomy of Carnotaurus and other abelisaurs
- Related to Carnotaurus, but smaller
- About 20 ft (6.1 m) long
- Had low ridges above its eyes (not horns, like Carnotaurus)
- Had small arms, and only two fingers (second and third digits) but they were short and didn’t have claws
- Had a short, deep-snouted skull
- Skull found is damaged, may be due to a fight before death
- Skull damage probably from another dinosaur, and the damage is limited to the skull, so it probably was attacked
- Attack could be by fighting a large herbivore, fighting over food or territory, or even attempted cannibalism (like abelisaurid Majungasaurus may have done)
- Probably died from its skull injury
- Where the fossils were found used to be a lake, so Aucasaurus either was injured in the lake or walked to the lake with its injury and sank to the bottom (either way, because of that, terrestrial predators couldn’t get to it, which is why it’s so well preserved)
- Can see Aucasaurus in Dinosaur Planet, a 2003 documentary series, where a Saltasurus fell on top of Aucasaurus and crushed its skull
- Can also see Aucausaurus art on DeviantArt, created by Joschua Knuppe, who created an Aucausaurus mother as part of a concept for Global Dinosaur Monument, a park on a small peninsula on the Australian coast
- Carnotaurinae is a subfamily of Abelisauridae
- Subfamily includes Aucasaurus, Carnotaurus, and Rajasaurus
- Fun fact: There are at least a couple accounts of mammals eating non-avian dinosaurs. The first that was found was Deltatheridium eating an Archaeornithoides in present day Mongolia. The mammal Deltatheridium was weasel-sized at half a foot (15cm) long. The evidence isn’t great though, basically a partial Archaeornithoides skull was found which appeared to have been chewed on (or possibly eaten) by the mammal. The second discovery was of a Repenomamus with a Psittacosaurus found preserved in its stomach. The mammal was about 2 feet long, and likely weighed between 4-6Kg (9-13lb), making it about the size of an opossum. And in both cases the dinosaurs were juveniles. Random other fact… The U.S. President Taft celebrating his election ate a roasted opossum. He was replacing Teddy Roosevelt (who the Teddy Bear was named after) and there was a brief attempt to make a “Billy Possum”. It failed catastrophically. Maybe they should have made a dinosaur stuffed animal instead… Taft rex?
This episode was brought to you by:
Artemesia Publishing. They not only publish award-winning dinosaur books, but also “coloring puzzles” which can be put together and then colored using markers, crayons, or colored pencils. You can get more information at apbooks.net and you can purchase the “coloring puzzles” at http://www.paleoartisans.com/Catalog/fuseaction/ListProducts/classid/152603.
Share your thoughts