19 julio, 2024

Carnotaurus sastrei: characteristics, habitat, feeding, reproduction

Carnotaurus sastrei It was a carnivorous dinosaur that existed during the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic Era, until the so-called great Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. It was first described by the renowned Argentine paleontologist José Fernando Bonaparte in 1985, after its first fossils were discovered in Argentina.

The main feature of this dinosaur was the two horns that adorned its head and that were located exactly above the eyes. Carnotaurus sastrei it was able to use these horns to attack possible prey and there are specialists who believe that it could have used them to defend itself.

According to fossil records, this dinosaur lived only in the south of South America, specifically in Argentine territory, since up to now that is where its remains have been located.

General characteristics

Carnotaurus sastrei It was an animal considered a multicellular eukaryote. This was due to the fact that their cells had a cell nucleus in which the chromosomes were contained. In the same way, it presented a wide variety of cells, which fulfilled specific functions.

It was an animal that presented bilateral symmetry, so if an imaginary line was drawn through its longitudinal plane, two exactly equal halves would be obtained.

He Carnotaurus sastrei It was a heterotrophic organism, that is, it had to feed on other living beings. In his case, he fed on other dinosaurs, which is why he was included in the group of carnivorous dinosaurs. It is even believed that this animal was a fairly efficient predator.

Specialists consider that the Carnotaurus sastrei reproduced sexually, with internal fertilization and oviparous.

taxonomy

The taxonomic classification of Carnotaurus sastrei is the next:

Animalia Kingdom
Edge: Chordata
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Infraorder: Ceratosauria
Family: Abelisauridae
Genus: Carnotaurus
Species: Carnotaurus sastrei

Morphology

Carnotaurus sastrei It was a dinosaur that could measure up to 4 meters high and about 8 meters long and weigh approximately 1 ton. It was characterized by having structures similar to horns and extremely short and atrophied upper extremities at head level.

Head

The head of this dinosaur was small compared to the size of the rest of the body. However, in it were the two structures that made it a fearsome dinosaur: its horns and its jaw.

Regarding the horns, there were two, located on the top of the head. These were bony in texture and were made up of the frontal bone. These could reach 15 cm in length. According to specialists, the horns of the males were larger and more prominent than those of the females.

On the other hand, the mouth presented a special joint that allowed it to open it widely, with which it was capable of giving large bites to the possible prey it encountered.

The upper jaw had an upward curvature and teeth that could measure up to 5 cm. The lower jaw was not as strong, and its teeth were not as sharp or large.

The eyes of this dinosaur were oriented forward, which seems to indicate, according to specialists, that it had binocular vision. Likewise, his eyes were housed in a bone cavity that was highly protected.

Extremities

He Carnotaurus sastrei It had four limbs, two anterior and two posterior. The degree of atrophy of its forelimbs, which were even shorter than those of the Tyrannosaurus, is striking.

On each hand it had three well-developed fingers and a very short fourth finger, similar to a spur. These were fused, which is why they were immobile. In addition, it is believed that they most likely did not have claws.

With regard to the hind limbs, these were very well developed. They were robust, which gave the dinosaur the ability to run quickly, reaching great speeds.

Spine

According to the fossils that have been found, Carnotaurus sastrei It consisted of a vertebral column divided into several regions: cervical, thoracic, sacral, and tail.

The first portion, which was the cervical, had a total of 10 vertebrae; It was followed by the thoracic or dorsal zone with 12 vertebrae and approximately 6 sacral vertebrae. Regarding the tail, scientists have not yet established the exact number of vertebrae it had.

Habitat and distribution

Regarding its geographical distribution, it can be affirmed that this dinosaur lived in the area of ​​Argentine Patagonia.

According to those collected by the specialists, the ecosystem of this place was made up of forests where coniferous plants abounded and some areas of plains, in which the vegetation was somewhat scarce.

Likewise, it is believed that this dinosaur also inhabited areas that constituted riverbanks, which flowed into a nearby sea.

That habitat was ideal for the coexistence of other dinosaurs, such as titanosaurs and antarctosaurus. In addition to these, there were also ornithopods and some small carnivores.

The foregoing allows us to deduce that in this habitat there was abundant availability of food for the Carnotaurus sastrei.

Likewise, specialists consider that this dinosaur could have been located in small groups, which allowed it to go hunting and take down large prey. Despite this, there are also experts who claim that this dinosaur was rather solitary. Others, more daring, have even said that the Carnotaurus sastrei it could be of scavenging habits.

However, since not a large number of specimens have been recovered, the behavior it may have had in its habitat remains unknown.

Feeding

Carnotaurus sastrei It was a dinosaur classified as a carnivore. This means that it fed on other dinosaurs. Scientists have come to this conclusion after studying the characteristics of their teeth.

However, because its discovery is relatively recent, scientists have not agreed on the type of prey this dinosaur could attack. In this sense, some believe that using its characteristic horns, it was capable of attacking dinosaurs much larger than it, making them lose balance and once on the ground, it attacked them with its powerful jaws.

Likewise, there are others who believe that, due to its medium size, Carnotaurus sastrei It fed on prey smaller than itself.

There is no doubt that it was a quite capable predator and that, despite not having the help of its front limbs (due to its level of atrophy), it could capture any type of prey in order to feed itself.

What this dinosaur did have was a pair of very powerful hind legs, which gave it excellent running ability, so it was capable of reaching any prey.

Digestion

When it comes to the digestive process, specialists can only guess. It is believed that once it captured its prey and killed it, it immediately proceeded to devour it. In the oral cavity, the food began its digestion process, with the help of possible digestive enzymes that were dissolved in the saliva.

Later it passed to the digestive tract, where it continued its journey, until it reached a structure similar to the gizzard of modern birds. Here the food was processed more thoroughly, as well as being pounded.

Once this happened, the already processed food passed to the intestine, where the absorption of nutrients took place. Finally, the particles that could not be used were released into the environment in the form of feces, through the anal orifice.

Reproduction

Because there are few fossil specimens of this dinosaur that have been collected, certain aspects of its life remain unknown. One of those aspects is reproduction.

However, specialists have made certain approaches to explain their reproductive process. In this sense, the first thing that must be said is that the Carnotaurus sastrei had a type of sexual reproduction.

Sexual reproduction involves the fusion of two sex cells (gametes), one male and one female. However, in organisms that reproduce sexually, the meeting of gametes can occur inside the female’s body (internal fertilization) or outside (external fertilization).

In the case of Carnotaurus sastreiexperts suggest that fertilization was internal, so the male had to have a copulatory organ that allowed him to introduce his sperm inside the female’s body.

Once the fusion of both gametes occurred, it is believed that the female proceeded to lay the eggs. This is so because, according to many specialists in the area, the Carnotaurus sastrei it was an oviparous animal, as was the case with several dinosaurs.

In this sense, it is not known if the females of Carnotaurus sastrei They made a nest to lay the eggs. The specific incubation time that these must have had for the new individual to hatch is also unknown.

What can be intuited is that the type of development that these reptiles had was direct, since the individual that hatched from the egg presented the characteristics of an adult specimen, with the obvious difference in size.

Extinction

Carnotaurus sastrei It was a dinosaur that inhabited the Patagonia area, in Argentina, during the final stages of the Cretaceous period.

As is well known, at the end of the Cretaceous one of the most well-known and studied mass extinction events by specialists occurred: “the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction”. The importance they attribute to this process is that more than 98% of the dinosaur species perished. Carnotaurus sastrei was no exception.

Causes

There are several causes to which the extinction of dinosaur species is attributed. However, only a few are accepted by the scientific community.

The hypothesis that a huge meteorite fell on the earth’s surface some 65 million years ago is the most widely accepted. This hypothesis is supported by the discovery of a huge crater in the Yucatan peninsula. It is estimated that the fall of that meteorite triggered a series of environmental changes that made the environment hostile and consequently many species could not be saved.

The most significant change was a sudden increase in environmental temperature. This in turn resulted in the formation of various compounds such as nitric acid and sulfuric acid, which significantly decreased the pH of the various bodies of water.

There are also records that there was an unusual increase in volcanic activity on the planet, which spewed toxic gases into the atmosphere, which inevitably affected…

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