Name: Meraxes ‭(‬after a dragon from A song of Ice and Fire fantasy series‭)‬.
Phonetic: Me-rak-is
Named By: Juan I.‭ ‬Canale,‭ ‬Sebastián Apesteguía,‭ ‬Pablo A.‭ ‬Gallina,‭ ‬Jonathan Mitchell,‭ ‬Nathan D.‭ ‬Smith,‭ ‬Thomas M.‭ ‬Cullen,‭ ‬Akiko Shinya,‭ ‬Alejandro Haluza,‭ ‬Federico A.‭ ‬Gianechini‭ & ‬Peter J.‭ ‬Makovicky‭ ‬-‭ ‬2022.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Carcharodontosauridae,‭ ‬Giganotosaurini.
Species: M.‭ ‬gigas‭. (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Skull estimated at‭ ‬1.27‭ ‬meters long.‭ ‬Full body size for holotype individual estimated to be over nine meters long.
Known locations: Argentina‭ ‬-‭ ‬Huincul Formation.
Time period: Early Cenomanian to Late Turonian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Almost complete skull and partial post cranial skeleton.

       Every so often a dinosaur is discovered that makes people sit up and take notice,‭ ‬and arguably in‭ ‬2022‭ ‬that dinosaur was Meraxes.‭ ‬This is because the Meraxes genus has a number of accolades to its name.‭ ‬First is that at the time of its naming in‭ ‬2022,‭ ‬Meraxes is the most completely known carcharodontosaurid theropod dinosaur so far discovered in the Southern hemisphere.‭ ‬The size of the holotype individual’s skull is also comparable to the largest known members‭ ‬of the‭ ‬Carcharodontosauridae,‭ ‬with a reconstructed body length for the holotype individual of Meraxes being well over nine meters.
       Further,‭ ‬study of the holotypes bones suggest that this individual dinosaur was about fifty-three years old at the time if its death.‭ ‬This would make this individual one of the oldest known dinosaurs,‭ ‬certainly one of the oldest large theropod dinosaurs.‭ ‬Bone Analysis also suggests that the holotype individual did not reach skeletal maturity‭ (‬i.e.‭ ‬stop physically growing‭) ‬until about four years prior to its death.‭ ‬While much of the skeleton of Meraxes is still incomplete,‭ ‬what is known does bear a similarity to Acrocanthosaurus,‭ ‬a carcharodontosaurid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of North America.‭
       Meraxes was named after a dragon that features in the A Song of Ice and Fire stories‭ (‬that would be adapted to the‭ ‬television‭ ‬series Game of Thrones‭)‬.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬Meraxes is not the first prehistoric animal to have a name derived from A Song of Ice and Fire.‭ ‬The pterosaur Targaryendraco also had its name inspired by the series.

Further reading
-‭ ‬New giant carnivorous dinosaur reveals convergent evolutionary trends in theropod arm reduction.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Current Biology‭ ‬-‭ ‬Juan I.‭ ‬Canale,‭ ‬Sebastián Apesteguía,‭ ‬Pablo A.‭ ‬Gallina,‭ ‬Jonathan Mitchell,‭ ‬Nathan D.‭ ‬Smith,‭ ‬Thomas M.‭ ‬Cullen,‭ ‬Akiko Shinya,‭ ‬Alejandro Haluza,‭ ‬Federico A.‭ ‬Gianechini‭ & ‬Peter J.‭ ‬Makovicky‭ ‬-‭ ‬2022.


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