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New Dinosaur Species Identified From Footprints in Brazil

Distinct footprints have revealed the discovery of a small, desert-dwelling dinosaur species from Brazil.

The new dinosaur species, Farlowichnus rapidus, was only 2-3 feet tall. Credit: BBC/Cretaceous Research

This new dinosaur species discovery comes after Italian paleontologist Guiseppe Leonardi donated fossil footprints to Brazil’s Museum of Earth Sciences in 1984, to be examined further.

How were the footprints discovered?

Brazil’s geological service announced This new finding last Thursday, November 23rd. The creature is believed to have been around during the Cretaceous period.

This period lasted from 145 million years ago to 66 million years ago, famous for species such as the Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops. Following this period was also the start of the growth of modern-day plants, birds, and mammals worldwide.

Scientists call these discovered footprints “trackways,” which Leonardi documented in the early 1980s. He collected these fossils in the city of Araraquara, which is in the Sao Paolo state of Brazil. Leonardi donated samples of the fossilized trackways to Brazil’s Museum of Earth Sciences in 1984 to be studied more in-depth.

The samples were etched in Brazil’s Botucatu Formation, a sandstone group created by ancient desert dunes. The Botucatu Formation is located in the southern part of Brazil and the northern part of Uruguay.

Other dinosaur tracks found in the Botucatu formation include theropod and lacertoid tracks.

After Leonardi handed some of these footprints to the museum, they were studied extensively for years. They were compared with other existing, previously studied dinosaur footprints and found to be unlike any other tracks seen before due to their distinct features.

The trackways have unique aspects and characteristics, like longer toes and a wide stride. These features reveal this species’ potential speed and agility as it made its way through the desert. This is what led scientists to their finding of a new dinosaur species.

This discovery has been published in the scientific journal “Cretaceous Research.”

Get to know the new dinosaur species

In a study published this year, scientists and researchers, actually led by Ledonardi, designated the name Farlowichnus rapidus to the new dinosaur species, reported NDTV. This scientific name actually means “Fast Farlow’s track,” most likely due to the nature of the footprints and how it’s believed that this was a speedy little dinosaur.

Farlowichnus rapidus existed around 125 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period in Brazil. It is believed to have been a dinosaur of the desert land, where it roamed vast landscapes in Brazil.

The characteristics of the trackways suggest the desert wandering nature of this species. Comparisons with other dinosaur tracks helped scientists realize that this species is distinct from other previously discovered dinosaur species.

According to a statement from the geological service, researchers believe that this species was very agile and able to run fast through the desert due to the tracks being spaced far apart from each other.

This fast little dinosaur species, which was only 2-3 feet tall, was also carnivorous, so it only ate meat.

A graphic of 4 different dinosaur footprints in different colors.
Researchers say that Farlowichnus rapidus has tracks that are far-spaced apart, which allowed it to be a fast and agile species. Credit: Shutterstock/Afanasia

Other Recent Discoveries

This discovery comes not too long after a bird-like dinosaur species was found in southeastern China a few months ago. This species is called Fujianvenator prodigiosus due to its supposedly fascinating bird-like features, including characteristics such as feathers.

The finding and identification of this new dinosaur species allows us to glimpse the past of our Earth. It allows us to see back in time to the land of dinosaurs millions and millions of years ago. The work of paleontologists today is important in our understanding of prehistoric Earth.

Fossils and imprints around the world will forever hold the secrets to life on Earth millions of years ago and the various types of creatures that existed before us and other animals and plants today. We can see how these dinosaurs adapted to their environment and survived based on our fossil findings.

This recent finding of Farlowichnus rapidus further reveals the great diversity in appearance and behavior of ancient dinosaurs, contributing to the richness of our understanding of life on Earth as we know it.

We can anticipate further discoveries of distinct dinosaur species as time goes on, which will allow us to grow our knowledge of how species can adapt over time and how we got to where we are now in evolution.

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Hello, my name is Mia Jones, I'm from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I'm currently studying Magazine Journalism at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication. I am also pursuing a Spanish minor in addition to that, and I'm apart of the Fashion & Beauty Communications Milestone program through Newhouse and the Visual & Performing Arts program at Syracuse. I absolutely love to write and create content, and I'm interested in writing about current events, trending topics, fashion, mental health/wellness, pop culture, and politics. Ideally, I would love to write, edit, or manage for a major editorial someday in a big city.

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