Museum for Natural Sciences will exhibit new dinosaur

Monday, 06 May 2019 13:16
Arkhane is positioned in a natural hunting position. Arkhane is positioned in a natural hunting position. © Museum for Natural Sciences
A new dinosaur fossil will be exhibited in the Museum for Natural Sciences in Brussels starting from Tuesday 7 May.
The dinosaur is called "Arkhane", and it is an eight metres long allosaurian, between 152 and 157 million years old. Allosaurs are carnivorous bipedal (walking on two legs) dinosaurs, and Arkhane is definitely a new species, according to the experts at the museum.

Its exceptionally well-preserved skeleton is the property of a private collector who wishes to stay anonymous. Experts at the Brussels' museum studied the skeleton, and it will now be exhibited for 11 months.

The name of the dinosaur, "Arkhane", was chosen by its owner and is a combination of the Latin 'Arcanus', which means enigmatic and secret, referencing the new species, and 'Genghis Khan', the conqueror, referencing its position at the top of the food chain.

The fossil is for 70% complete and is missing a few ribs, cervical vertebrae and half of its skull. The skeleton is 8.7 metres long and 2.6 metres tall and stems from the upper Jurassic era.

Arkhane walked on his hind legs and was able to reach 30 to 55 kilometres per hour. Its muscular tail was the counterweight to its massive chest and head. Allosaurians were slender, agile and "only" weighed between 700 and 1,500 kilograms.

The skeleton was dug up in 2014 at Barnum-Kaycee, Wyoming, barely 250 meters from the site where the team of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (KBIN) has been digging for two years.

The private collector gave the fossil to the museum with two goals in mind: identify the specimen and, therefore, examine through scientific research whether it is a new species. Secondly, show the skeleton to as many people as possible, spark interest in science and possibly also let young people discover the profession of palaeontologist.

More info can be found on the museum's website.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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