The fossil of a new dinosaur species has been discovered in Spain. The strange fossil presents a rigid sail on the back. Researchers say that the sail might have helped the dinosaur survive the climate changes that occurred in the ancient times.
The dinosaur of the species Morelladon beltrani is reported to have lived in the land that is now Spain approximately 125 million years ago. Its home region had a lot of changes, alternating between dry and wet climates. The theory the scientists came up with is that the sail regulated the body temperature of this dinosaur.
The scientists tend to compare the dinosaur’s sail with elephant’s ears and with a camel’s hump. Modern elephants use their big ears to emanate the excess heat away from their body. On the other side the camel uses its hump to store its fat. The herbivorous dinosaur may have had the sail to store fat there during difficult times to find food. Especially if the species was a migratory one that must have come in handy.
The dinosaur had 14 teeth which helped him process even the toughest plants. When alive the dinosaur measured 20 feet and was 8 feet tall. On his sail there were bony spines, the tallest reaching even 1 foot. Despite being viewed as extremely big nowadays, in the past he was only a medium sized dinosaur.
Fossils of other dinosaurs found in the same region indicate that these plant-eating dinosaurs lived in herds. They are believed to have migrated every time the environment changed. Although there is no direct proof, large herbivores usually migrate, according to scientists.
Morelladon beltrani could have been related the Iguanodons. The Iguanodons were herbivore dinosaurs that colonized a lot of regions of the world. Actually, they were the most successful species of dinosaurs.
The fossil of the dinosaur that has been discovered was named after the city Morella, located in the vicinity of the found fossil. The second name was put in honor of Victor Beltrán, a paleontologist who assisted the digging.