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A newly discovered species of theropod – the terrifying range of dinosaurs which includes the T Rex, velociraptor and spinosaurus – has been found. The remains of what scientists have dubbed an Erythrovenator jacuiensis were found in the municipality of Agudo, in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The beast lived around 230 million years ago, almost 150 million years before the T Rex came into existence.
Brazilian palaeontologist Rodrigo Temp Müller, of the Federal University of Santa María, found a femur belonging to the ancient dinosaur.
Mr Muller said the dinosaur would have only been around two metres long and weighed only around 10 kilograms.
However, its agility and speed would have made it a great hunter and would have led to other fearsome theropods.
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The creature’s name means “red hunter from the Jacui river” as its bones had a red tinge to them and because of the nearby flowing river.
Mr Muller said: “We had few fossils on this type of dinosaur, most of them quite fragmented.
“The one I discovered is only a bone, quite damaged, but it has features that are only seen in the lineage of theropods.
“And within this line, he belongs to an animal that we didn’t know until now.
“Although it is only a bone, it is possible to see features that we have not seen in other dinosaurs.”
Analysis revealed that the E jacuiensis was one of the “most primitive” hunters of the theropod family.
Mr Muller continued: “The Rex was up to 12 meters long and weighed about ten tons.
“This dinosaur was very small, could be around two meters long and didn’t weigh much more than 10 kilograms.
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“It’s very interesting because it shows that this line of famous dinosaurs, like the Tyrannosaurus Rex or the Velociraptor, came from a group of small dinosaurs.”
The discovery will allow scientists to paint a clearer picture of the theropod lineage.
In the site where the newly discovered dinosaur was found, there were also the remains of ancient mammals.
This suggests the small dinosaur may have hunted some of the planet’s earliest mammals.
Mr Muller now hopes to find more evidence of the E jacuiensis, to help piece together more of the dinosaur’s history.
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