Spain's Most Complete Dinosaur

Spain's Most Complete Dinosaur

This gem was found in the quarry of Las Hoyas, Cuenca. We should speak shortly about that quarry, because there is still a lot to tell about it.

It is a Barremian (early Cretaceous) site with an extraordinary fossil Lagerstätte. The preservation of the dinosaur fossils there is exceptional due to a series of convenient factors. It was discovered in the 80s and every summer there are organized Paleontology excavations.

The hallmark of the dinosaurs found at Las Hoyas is their morphologic peculiarity, besides their excellent preservation. The name of this dinosaur gives us hints about this morphology: Concavenator corcovatus, "the hunchback hunter from Cuenca". A picture is worth a thousand words, look at its size:

 Size of the Concavenator relative to a human

No doubts about the hunchback part now. We find the same issue as with the pelecanimimus —since we do not have any other pieces to compare with, we don't know if this distinction on the back was a gender dimorphism or a general trait of the species.

I said the Concavenator was a gem, and I don't exaggerate a bit. It's the most complete dinosaur found in Spain as of today. Its skeleton appears totally articulated. That's not easy to find. And this skeleton has incredible details. Feathers stand out on its forearm, and we don't know if it's something it had over the rest of the body, or it had them only on these body parts. It was first published in the Nature article A bizarre, humped Carcharodontosauria (Theropoda) from the Lower Cretaceous of Spain.

Fossil of the complete animal - Concavenator corcovatus

On this other picture, we can see its discoverers: Fernando Escaso, Francisco Ortega, and José Luis Sanz working on the Concavenator's rests:

Fernando Escaso, Francisco Ortega, José Luis Sanz

It was an interesting primitive carcharodontosaurian, with traits like the quill knobs only known to birds and feathered theropods like the Velociraptor.

You might as well want to have a look at some huge Carcharodontosaurus teeth and bones that we have in our collection, which were from the same clade as the Concavenator.

Germán Z. López
This post can also be read in Spanish at our partner blog Made in Pangea.
The header illustration is made by the world-renowed paleoartist Raúl Martín.

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Tags: complete, concavenator, Concavenator corcovatus, corcovatus, cuenca, dinosaur, discoveries, las hoyas, new dinosaur, spain

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