Dinosaur of the Cretaceous period, no Jakopil conicura, would have been well protected by rows of bony disc-like armor along its neck and back, all the way to its tail, they said. Its length was about 1.5 meters, and its weight was from 4 to 7 kg, similar to an ordinary domestic cat.

Its fossilized remains were excavated over the past decade near a dam in Patagonia in the La Buitrera paleontological zone of the Río Negro province. Scientists described Jakopilo in a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Scientists said Jakapil is the first of its kind discovery of an armored dinosaur from the Cretaceous period in South America. It is part of the thyreophore group of dinosaurs, which includes the likes of Stegosaurus, known for its bony dorsal plates and spiny tail, and the tank-like Ankylosaurus, covered in armor and sporting a mace-like tail.

Leading paleontologist Sebastian Apestegia and his colleagues found the partial skeleton of Giacapillo along with 15 fragments of leaf-shaped teeth similar to those of an iguana.

Jakopil resembles a primitive form of thyreophore that existed much earlier, so it is surprising that it comes from the Cretaceous period. Apesteguia said that such a Thyreophoran had never before been unearthed anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere.

(Reporting by Miguel Lo Bianco.)

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