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SAO PAULO – The Brazilian Geological Service announced on Thursday the discovery of a new species of dinosaur, a fast animal that lived in the desert during the Early Cretaceous period.
The new species, called Farlowichnus rapidus, was a small carnivore about the size of a modern Serima bird, or about 2-3 feet long, according to the researchers. This discovery was published in the scientific journal Cretaceous Research.
“From the large distance between the footprints found, it is possible to conclude that it was a very fast reptile that ran across ancient sand dunes,” the Geological Service said in a statement.
The Early Cretaceous period extended from 100 to 145 million years ago.
Fossilized dinosaur “tracks,” as scientists call them, were first found in the 1980s by Italian priest and paleontologist Giuseppe Leonardi in what is today the city of Araraquara in São Paulo state.
Leonardi donated one of the fingerprint samples, found in the so-called Botucatu Formation, a group of rocks formed by an ancient dune desert, to the Brazilian Earth Sciences Museum in 1984.
Rafael Costa, a paleontologist at the museum, said the footprints differ from all other known dinosaur footprints.
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