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BICENTENARIA

Pronunciation: bi-sen-ten-ahr-ee-uh
Meaning: Two century lizard
Author/s: Novas et al. (2012)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Rio Negro, Argentina
Chart Position: 604

Bicentenaria argentina

Until Bicentenaria argentina was officially described all we could do was pick titbits from Argentine press reports, which wasn't easy because it's a language none of us speak. So, we recruited our ageing uncle Bob, fresh from three months on Balneario Marbella Beach as part of his mid-life crisis, who came up with (rough) translations between bouts of manic depression and Fernet-fuelled arguments with his fifth mail-order bride. Collectively we deduced that this critter was a three meter long, slim, agile, early coelurosaur; the long-armed, mainly carnivorous dinosaurs that diverged and simultaneously led to one of the largest theropods (Tyrannosaurus rex) on one path and some of the smallest theropods (birds) on the other, and to our great surprise we were mostly right. Bob celebrated by getting divorced. Again.

At 90 million years old, Bicentenaria is no spring chicken, but it does seem a little on the young side to be an "ancient ancestor" as some sources suggest.
Etymology
Bicentenaria Argentina was named in 2012 to commemorate the bicentenary of Argentina's May Revolution (though strictly speaking that happened 202 years ago) which led to their eventual declaration of independance from Spain (the bicentenary of which was still four years away). It also coincided with the 200th anniversary of the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia").
Discovery
The remains of Bicentenaria were discovered in the Candeleros Formation at Lake Ramos Mexia, Río Negro ("Black River") Province, Argentina, by Raul Spedale whilst fishing in 1998. This was an exceptionally dry year and the receding lake revealed islands that would normally have been submerged under water. The holotype (MPCA 865) is the rear half of a skull with lower jaw, plucked from hundreds of bones belonging to several individuals of various ages. The high bone count in such a small area is being interpreted by experts as a sign of social behaviour (gregariousness).
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Turonian
Age range: 90 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 3 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 40 Kg
Diet: Carnivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Theropoda
Tetanurae
Coelurosauria
Bicentenaria
Argentina
References
• Novas F.E., Ezcurra M.D., Agnolín F.L., Pol D. and Ortíz R (2012) "New Patagonian Cretaceous theropod sheds light about the early radiation of Coelurosauria".
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"BICENTENARIA :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 25th Jul 2016.
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