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Oxalaia (University of Brazil)


Oxalaia (after a Brazilian deity); pronounces OX-ah-LIE-ah


Woodlands of South America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (95 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 40 feet long and 6 tons



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Narrow, crocodile-like snout; possibly sail on back


About Oxalaia:

If paleontologists had discovered Oxalaia's arm or leg, rather than pieces of its long, narrow snout, they probably wouldn't have been able to classify this dinosaur. As things stand, though, Oxalaia was clearly a genus of spinosaur, the family of plus-sized meat-eaters characterized by their crocodile-like jaws and (in some species) the sails on their backs. To date, the 40-foot-long, six-ton Oxalaia is the largest spinosaur to be discovered in South America, bigger than its continent-mates Irritator and Angaturama but slightly smaller than African spinosaurs like Suchomimus and (of course) Spinosaurus.

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