Paleontologists in Brazil have revealed a new species of feathered dinosaur that lived between 72 and 66 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Epoch. This new species, which has been called Ypupiara lopai, was a type of unenlagiine which was a subfamily of feathered theropod dinosaurs that were in the Dromaeosauridae family.
Dromaeosaurs were bird-like theropod dinosaurs that included the Velociraptor. These feathered carnivorous dinosaurs were small to medium sized and ran very fast. Their skull was relatively big with a narrow snout, serrated teeth, and forward-facing eyes. They had an S-curved neck, short torso, slender tail, long arms, relatively big hands with three long clawed fingers, and a large re-curved claw on the second toe of its feet.
The Ypupiara lopai remains were unearthed in Peirópolis in the Uberaba municipality in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. A portion of its upper jaw bone that included three implanted teeth and a part of its lower jaw were found.
The researchers think that Ypupiara lopai would have measured between 2.5 and 3 meters long (between 8.2 and 9.8 feet). As for what it ate, the official communiqué from the Museu Nacional/UFRJ stated that it is “Very likely these [creatures] fed on fish and small animals, such as amphibians and lizards, which is consistent with the scenario of the Triângulo Mineiro between approximately 72 million and 66 million years ago, near the end of the Cretaceous, which marks the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.”
Arthur Brum from the Museu Nacional-Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro as well as his Brazilian colleagues described the dinosaur in further detail, “Dromaeosauridae are present in all continents during the Mesozoic Era.” “In Gondwanan landmasses, the Unenlagiinae lineage constitutes a diversification of dromaeosaurids, comprising five species recovered from Argentinean localities.”
They went on to say that dromaeosaurids were identified by their large amount of teeth that didn’t include denticles or carinae. The teeth had longitudinal grooves that were situated on the crown. Furthermore, it was very difficult to study the features on the teeth as only two unenlagiine species had maxillary and dentary teeth – these species were Buitreraptor gonzalezorum and Austroraptor cabazai.
“The presence of Unenlagiinae specimens in Brazil is restricted to a single dorsal vertebra from the Campanian-Maastrichtian sequences of the Adamantina Formation,” they stated, adding, “Our study presents the first evidence of unenlagiines in the Maastrichtian Marilia Formation (Bauru Group, Brazil) and the second confirmed evidence of this clade in Brazil (as well as the first cranial remains referred to the Bauru Group in the country).” Their study was published in the journal Papers in Palaeontology where it can be read in full.
A picture of what the Ypupiara lopai would have looked like can be seen here.