by: Clarence Jude Tabinas || Photo Credit: New Atlas
Argentinian paleontologists have discovered the remains of Maip macrothorax, the world’s largest raptor dinosaur, at the Chorrillo Formation in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Its length ranged between 9 to 10 meters which was longer than other “megaraptors,” whose lengths ranged between 6 to 8 meters. As for its weight, analyses revealed that it weighed about 5 tons, twice that of a rhinoceros.
Its generic name, Maip, comes from Aonikenk mythology, which is known to be an evil entity that represents “the shadow of death” that “kills with cold wind.” Its specific name is macrothorax—macro coming from the Greek word for makrós, which means big, and thorax, the Latin word for chest, in reference to the creature’s wide thoracic cavity, which is estimated to be more than 1.2 meters wide.
During the early years when they still roamed the Earth, they inhabited the continents Asia, Australia, and South America. They had the body structure of elongated skulls, 60 strong teeth that were 8-shaped in cross-section, and long and powerful arms with large sharp claws.
Although megaraptors were not as big and powerful as the Tyrannosaurus rex, they were a force to be reckoned with. These creatures mainly fed on smaller dinosaurs. With their long, slender legs and light body, catching up to their prey was not difficult. They would grab their meal and rip it apart using their strong arms and deadly claws measuring up to 14 inches. Based on the study conducted by paleontologists, the species ruled Argentina about 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.
According to scientists, the extinction of Carcharodontosauridae dinosaurs about 94 million years ago may be the primary reason why these raptors grew to such sizes. As these dinosaurs were the apex predators on the southern continents, their extinction greatly affected the food chain, causing Maip macrothorax to evolve to fill the spot of the apex predator.
As of today, the remains of Maip macrothorax are safely kept at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Argentine Museum in Buenos Aires. As it was well preserved upon its discovery, it provides plenty of information into the anatomy of dinosaurs and their constitution, such as muscles and ligaments.
Even though reports about the discovery were published last April 26, 2022, the discovery comes from way back in 2019, just before the restrictions brought about by COVID-19 were enforced. This coming 2023, the team plans to return to the site in hopes of finding more remains that could help further advance their study.