Carnotaurus Neck Was Hefty
A recent discovery in the world of prehistoric times yielded a dinosaur yet seen—Carnotaurus. Its fossilized skeleton was found in Chubut Province, Patagonia, Argentina at the “Pocho Sastre” farm near Bajada Moreno, Telsen Dept., in 1985 by paleontologist Joseph F. Bonaparte.
Sediments that trapped the remains of Carnotaurus correspond to the lower section of the La Colonia formation of the Late Cretaceous Period, and are 75 million years old. The remains were classified as Carnotaurus sastrei and its closest relatives are Aucasaurus, Majungasaurus and Rajasaurus. C. sastrei is the only type species yet identified.
Carnotaurus Neck Was Similar to Other Short Limbed Dinosaurs
Attributed to the family Abelisauridae and Tribe Carnotaurini, C. sastrei is thought to have been a dominant predator. A Theropod, the most distinctive features of Carnotaurus are the two bull-horns above its eyes and the super short forelimbs. C. sastrei was large, at about 26 feet (8 meters) in length and weighing approximately 1.6—2.9 tons.
C. sastrei remains have been fairly telling, with a nearly complete fossilized skeleton recovery that had impressions of skin along most of the right side. C. sastrei did not have feathers; rather, it had rows of bumps that get larger toward the spine. Its arms appear to have hardly been useful, being very stunted, with four digits yet likely vestigial. Only two of these digits actually extended into finger bones, while the rest were fused and immobile. C. sastrei fossils had no claws. In contrast, Carnotaurus neck and head seemed disproportionally large. The well-muscled head and Carnotaurus neck are usually associated with those species that have particularly short limbs, and this may be simply an issue of balance; although other factors certainly may be involved in their indirect influence.
Carnotaurus Neck Was Accompanied By Robust Shoulders Too
C. sastrei had a robust shoulder, indicating the massive upper body power that would be typical of a predatory carnivore. In conjunction with the powerful neck and head were incredible teeth. C. sastrei was capable of fast moving bites, but not strong ones—requiring a repeated ripping technique while swaying back and forth. This dinosaur would have been quick and vicious, likely slashing at its prey or grasping and shaking it to its death. It seems likely that much of its prey could have come from area water resources.
C. sastrei was likely a fast predator too, sometimes chasing its quick target. The eyes of C. sastrei faced forward, possibly indicating a binocular vision conducive to speed in movement. As far as how C. sastrei actually accomplish the takedown of its prey, it is thought that the large and stout skull and upper jaw were used to head-butt, slash and eventually force down after having run down its target. The skull was nearly as tall as it was long.
The La Colonia formation where C. sastrei is found is likely made of deposits from an environment of grass-filled estuaries with nearby coasts and access to brackish waters. Some of the edible life available to C. sastrei would have been other dinosaurs, turtles, crocodiles, shellfish and mammals. C. sastrei is an amazing prehistoric dinosaur to imagine having run the face of the earth, large and fast, low in profile with much speed, bullish horns pointing forward and huge gaping jaw ready to strike most anything down. The forelimbs of Carnotaurus sastrei however, had naturally become rudimentary remnants of genetics along the Abelisauridae Family line. All appearances seem to indicate that the massive and powerful hind limbs, body and Carnotaurus neck, head and jaws were quite ample enough to handle the daily needs of this type species, and with all energy spent in this way.