New dinosaur species with spiky backbone discovered in Argentina: report

A new dinosaur species, notable for a row of two-foot spines protruding from its neck, has been discovered by scientists in Argentina.

Scientists have dubbed the new dinosaur, “Bajadasaurus,” an herbivore that lived 140 million years ago, according to the scientific journal Nature, which first revealed the findings. Its name is an amalgam of Spanish, Greek, and Latin, meaning “lizard from Bajada with forward-bending spines.”

The dinosaur's unusual "spines" have fueled a wave of speculation about what purpose they may have served. Pablo Gallina, a paleontologist who first came across a set of its teeth in 2010, said the “long and sharp spines,” were likely used to “deter possible predators.” Had it not been for the sharp spines, Gallina said, the dinosaur’s structure “could have been easily broken or fractured with a blow or when being attacked by other animals.”

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A reproduction of the dinosaur and its unusual neck was recently displayed in the Cultural Science Center in Buenos Aires. The Bajadasaurus is among a unique family of dinosaurs with “neck spines,” the first of which was discovered in Tanzania more than 100 years ago.

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Gallina said paleontologists are still finding new species of dinosaurs “and the diversity is increasing year by year.”