Named By: Jose Bonaparte & Fernando Novas - 1985.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Saurischia, Theropoda, Abelisauridae, Abelisaurinae.
Species: A. comahuensis (type).
Size: Body estimated between 7 and 9 meters long. Skull is measured at over 85 centimetres long.
Known locations: Argentina, Patagonia, Rio Negro Province - Anacleto Formation.
Time period: Early Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Single incomplete skull.
after Roberto Abel, the palaeontologist who first discovered the
remains, Abelisaurus was the first of the
carnivorous theropod dinosaurs, a relatively new group that seems to
have been most common across southern continents such as South America
and Africa. Unfortunately the only fossil of Abelisaurus
so far known is a skull
that has extensive damage upon the right hand side. Although the
skull has no clear signs of ornamentation, rough ridges of bone above
the eyes and down the snout may have supported crests made from
keratin, however keratin does not normally fossilise so it is
impossible to say what shapes these crests were or even if they were
Full body reconstructions of Abelisaurus have had to be based upon other abelisaurid dinosaurs, which since the early discoveries towards the ends of the twentieth century have been steadily growing more and more common. Abelisaurus is envisioned as being a medium to large theropod dinosaur and as such was bipedal. If like other abelisaurids, Abelisaurus would have had exceptionally small and underdeveloped arms compared to other theropod groups, even the tyrannosaurs which are often noted as having small arms probably got more use from theirs than the abelisaurids had. Comparison to skull features of other abelisaurids however has since indicated that Abelisaurus is actually a primitive (basal) member of the group.
Other popular abelisaurids include the exceptionally well preserved Aucasurus, the horned Carnotaurus and the possibly cannibalistic Majungasaurus.
- Abelisaurus comahuensis, n.g., n.sp., Carnosauria del Crétacico Tardio de Patagonia (Abelisaurus comahuensis, n.gen., n.sp., Carnosauria from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia) - J. F. Bonaparte & F. E. Novas - Ameghiniana 21(2-4):259-265 - 1985.