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New dinosaur species identified in Spain

A fossilised jawbone recovered from the Spanish city of Castellón has now been identified to belong to a new genus and species of dinosaur. It was named Portellsaurus sosbaynati, in honour of Vicent Sos Baynat, a Spanish geologist who was born in Castello ´de la Plana. The genus name combines the name of Portell, the town in which the fossil was discovered, with the Greek sauros which means lizard. It belonged to a subgroup of dinosaurs called Styracosterna.

The specimen was discovered in 1998 and kept in the Cinctorres Museum. New studies on the specimen revealed that the herbivorous species roamed the area during the early Cretaceous period or about 130 million years ago. The collected jaw belonged to a large individual who was about 20-26 feet in length.

Phylogenetic or evolutionary studies revealed that the new species was closely related to Ouranosaurus nigeriensis and Bolong yixianensis – two dinosaurs that lived in Niger and China, respectively. The findings were published last week in PLOS ONE.

The authors note that this is the first styracosternan dinosaur species identified from Margas de Mirambell Formation of Spain. This “indicates that the Iberian Peninsula was home to a highly diverse assemblage of medium-to-large bodied styracosternan hadrosaur forms during the Early Cretaceous.”

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