They christened it ‘Gonkoken nanoi’. It means ‘wild duck’. It is the fifth dinosaur species found in Chilean Patagonia. This region has been the epicenter of important paleontological research in recent years. This is where the duck-billed dinosaur appeared.
Its existence in the southern hemisphere was unknown until now. An expedition of the Chilean Antarctic Institute found yellowish bones in the Las Chinas valley. It is in Chilean Patagonia. They included cranial material, cervical vertebrae, ribs, arm and leg bones. It was possible to digitally reconstruct its skeleton.
The new species is a herbivorous animal that lived 72 million years ago in the extreme south of what is now Chile. It was up to four meters long. It weighed up to one ton and was equipped with a duck bill.
It was believed that all the varieties of hadrosaurids found in Latin America evolved from one. It would have arrived from North America more than 70 million years ago. But this “duck-billed” species is more primitive in this southern area. Earlier migrations must have occurred, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.
“We thought it was from the same group as other South American hadrosaurs. But it was unprecedented,” stated Jhonathan Alarcón-Muñoz, lead author of the study. “They were slender-looking dinosaurs They could easily adopt both a bipedal and quadrupedal posture to reach vegetation high and low to the ground.” They had large flattened beaks at the end, similar to those of a duck, but with sharper edges.
The name Gonkoken has its origin in the Aónikenk (Southern Tehuelche) language of the natives who inhabited the region. As for the term “nanoi”, it was used in honor of Mario Nano Ulloa. He was the first to find dinosaur bones in the Chinas River valley. He also provided key logistical assistance during the expeditions.
The finding of the duck-billed dinosaur is of great scientific importance. It gives us a better understanding of what the ancestors of the known hadrosaurid species were like.