Skorpiovenator

Skorpiovenator is a genus of abelisaurid theropod dinosaur from the late Cretaceous period of Argentina.

Skorpiovenator was estimated to have grown up to 6 m (19.7 ft) in length. In 2010, Gregory S. Paul gave larger estimations of 7.5 m (24.6 ft) and 1.67 tonnes (1.84 short tons). In 2016, a similar size to the original estimate at 6.2 m (20.3 ft) was estimated. It had short, stubby, near-useless arms, but strong legs with powerful thighs and sturdy shins over which its large body was balanced.

Skorpiovenator bustingorryi
by Paleocolour

Skorpiovenator’s skull was short, stout and covered in the ridges, furrows, tubercles and bumpy nodules that are scattered over the heads of most abelisaurid theropods. Its slender jaws housed rows of razor-sharp teeth. Skorpiovenator may not have had a large bite force, as has been suggested for some other abelisaurids. Skorpiovenator may have used its deep skull as a club, arching its head back and swinging it down onto its prey to drive the teeth home with enough force to do some serious damage to its prey.

Cast of the holotype specimen Skorpiovenator

The type species, Skorpiovenator bustingorryi, is known from a single, nearly complete skeleton (MMCH-PV 48K) missing only sections of the tail and the majority of the forelimbs. The specimen was recovered from the lower part of the Huincul Formation in Patagonia, dating to the late Cenomanian stage, about 95 million years ago. It would have lived alongside other carnivorous dinosaurs such as the carcharodontosaurid Mapusaurus and another abelisaurid, Ilokelesia.

In 2008, Canale et al. published a phylogenetic analysis focusing on the South American carnotaurines. In their results, they found that all South American forms (including Skorpiovenator) grouped together as a sub-clade of Carnotaurinae, which they named Brachyrostra, meaning “short snouts”. They defined the clade Brachyrostra as “all the abelisaurids more closely related to Carnotaurus sastrei than to Majungasaurus crenatissimus.”

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