New Dinosaur Species Named for Its (then 7 year-old) Chilean Discoverer

This new Jurassic dinosaur wasn’t discovered by a paleontologist, but by a seven-year-old child. (Are you as jealous as I am?)


On February 4, 2004, while hiking around southern Chile with his geologist parents Manuel Suarez and Rita de la Cruz, young Diego Suarez picked up a few bones he found on a hillside. His parents immediately recognized them as a rib and vertebra of a little dinosaur, and, with his sister Macarena joining in, Diego and his family scoured the site for more.

Now, more than a decade later, the dinosaur has been named for Diego and the place it was found: Chilesaurus diegosuarezi:


Based on several specimens unearthed at the site, Fernando Novas of the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales and his co-authors announced the new plant-plucking theropod this week in Nature.


Balanced on two legs, Chilesaurus has three thick, short fingers but only two claws, and the dinosaur’s blunt, rounded skull was set with short, leaf-shaped teeth. This combination of features, Novas says, give the dinosaur away as “a strict plant eater.”

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About Stan Flouride

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