Name Ekrixinatosaurus
Order Saurischia
Suborder Theropoda
Class Abelisauridae
Name Translation Explosion-Born Lizard
Period Early Cretaceous
Location South America
Diet Meat
Size 22 feet long, 1.5 to 4 tons

Ekrixinatosaurus(meaning, explosion born lizard) was a large carnivorous dinosaur from South America, as it was thought to be the biggest abelisaurid known to date. Reaching lengths of up to 9 to 10 meters. In research, it showed it was the largest abelisaur but a research in 2016 showed that it averaged at 7.4 meters, but the recent estimations concluded much larger size; as large as 11 meters long (probably an estimate). The previous largest Carnotaurus to average at 7.8 meters. So far, the crown of the largest abelisaur belongs to Pycnonemosaurus (around 9 meters long). This large theropod was named when its remains were unearthed during an explosion. 


Ekrixinatosaurus was found in the fossil beds of the Candeleros Formation, which has yielded a wide variety of vertebrates. It shared its environment with the titanosaurian sauropod Andesaurus and the rebbachisaurid sauropods Limaysaurus and NopcsaspondylusIguanodont ornithischian remains have reportedly also been found. The carcharodontosaurid Giganotosaurus was possibly the apex predator of the region and may have competed with Ekrixinatosaurus for food. Smaller predators also inhabited the area, including the dromaeosaurid Buitreraptor, the alvarezsaurid Alnashetri, and the basal coelurosaurian Bicentenaria. Other primitive reptiles lived in the area, such as the primitive snake Najash, the crocodile Araripesuchus, along with turtles, fish, pipid frogs, and mammals. Pterosaurs also lived in the area, as evidenced by pterosaur tracks. A wide variety of dinosaur trackways have also been found in the Candeleros Formation, suggesting significant faunal activity in the area.

Recent studies on Gondwanan theropods have interpreted abelisaurids as modest and medium sized dinosaurs that co-occurred with giant carcharodontosaurids during the Early and early Late Cretaceous. It has been hypothesized that it was only after extinction of the carcharodontosaurids that abelisaurids were able to diversify into more robust forms that occupied the niche of top predators of their ecosystems. However, it has been observed that both Giganotosaurus and Ekrixinatosaurus were among the largest of their respective clades yet existed at the same time, which refutes this hypothesis. Both these animals occupied the role of the largest carnivores, however it is uncertain whether they played different ecological roles (such as active predation vs. scavenging), or lived in different habitats and preyed on different animals. In addition, the known distribution of abelisaurids in South America, Madagascar and India brings the hypothesis of a dispersion route between these areas by a terrestrial bridge called the Kerguelen Plateau that formed prior to the separation of Africa and South America.
Ekrixinatosaurus-M Shiraishi

Discovery and naming

As suggested by its name, the bones of Ekrixinatosaurus were discovered during a construction-related explosion. It was described in 2004 by Argentian paleontologist Jorge Calvo, and Chilean paleontologists David Rubilar-Rogers and Karen Moreno.




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