Paleontologists unearth seven new dinosaur species


Image by Carlos Papolio via Wikimedia Commons

Discovered in Argentina, the meat-eating Meraxis Gigas, one of the seven new dinosaur species, is like the Tyrannosaurs rex: huge with tiny arms

Normay Arriola ’24, Science Editor

Dinosaurs wandered the earth hundreds of millions of years ago but many discoveries have yet to be made. Experts discover 50 new species of dinosaurs annually, from carnivores to herbivores. 

Not only are new dinosaur species discovered, but also a deeper analysis of existing dinosaur fossils. In 2022, paleontologists discovered and identified seven new dinosaur species, such as the Guemesia ochoai and Meraxes giga, which were both found in Argentina.

These newly-discovered species each have distinct characteristics ranging from armored bodies to short-legged limbs to “armless” dinosaurs. A unique trait in one of the new dinosaurs found is the armored dinosaur called the Jakapil kaniukara. 

The majority of these newly discovered dinosaurs were found in various locations in South America, including Argentina and Colombia. The rest were discovered in places such as Africa and Europe, specifically Germany.

Although dinosaurs are known for being the largest terrestrial animals, several of these new species were discovered to be small. The Guemesia ochoai is smaller than others of its own kind, spanning around 3 to 10 feet, and the Jakapil kaniukara is just 5 feet long. 

Science Instructor Michael O’Brien said, “What I find really interesting is as you move through large periods of time, dinosaurs got evolutionary much smaller, which probably allowed them to have a greater biotic potential, which in other words means they can have more offspring either in cycles or more at one time.”

Although most of these dinosaurs were small, the Meraxes giga was revealed to be 36 feet long, which is as tall as a telephone pole, and weighing a whopping 9,000 pounds, equivalent to a hippopotamus. At around the same length, the Thanatosdrakon amaru was discovered to have a wingspan of around 30 feet. 

O’Brien said, “I think the new discoveries will keep continuing to increase. We’re just scratching the surface of what lived in prehistoric times.

He added, “Right now we have species continually evolving on the larger evolutionary scale, especially in tropical rainforest areas. So if that’s happening now, then our assumption could be that it was definitely happening in the past as well. We just haven’t found all of the species who lived at the time.” 

2022 uncovered these seven new discoveries of dinosaurs, with unique traits and astonishing measurements. Who knows what the world will uncover next year?