Massive dino from Brazil ate ‘like a pelican,’ controversial new study finds. Why is it causing an uproar?

An artist’s interpretation of Irritator challenegri scooping its extended lower jaw though water. (Image credit: Olof Moleman/Universität Greifswald)

A large predatory dinosaur related to Spinosaurus may have scooped up prey “like a pelican” by extending its lower jaw, European researchers propose in a new study. But the findings have upset some paleontologists who contest that the fossils were illegally taken from Brazil and should be returned to their country of origin.

The dinosaur at the center of the controversy is Irritator challengeri, a member of the family Spinosauridae — a group of bipedal, carnivorous dinosaurs with long, crocodilian-like snouts. The species, which grew to a max length of around 21 feet (6.5 meters), was first described in 1996 from 115 million-year-old fossils uncovered in the Araripe Basin of northeastern Brazil and later shipped to Germany, where they now reside in the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History in the state of Baden-Württemberg. 

2023-05-25 13:56:43