Maip has a mythological meaning in the native Tehuelche culture, in southern Argentina, and was the name that CONICET scholars and researchers Mauro Aranciaga Rolando, Matías Motta, Federico Agnolín and Fernando Novas, from MACN-Conicet, and their Japanese colleagues Makoto Manabe and Takanobu Tsuihiji, from the Tokyo Museum, gave the eldest megaraptor discovered to date in the world.
Maip would have reached between 9 and 10 meters in length and a weight of approximately 5 tons. To support this weight, the Maip’s spine was made up of huge vertebrae interconnected by a complex system of muscles, tendons and ligaments, capable of supporting the animal’s body while it stood upright on its hind legs, walked or ran.
The scholarship grantees Aranciaga Rolando commented that Maip, “comes from an evil being from Tehuelche mythology who lives in the mountains and kills using the cold. Indeed, the finding Maip It took place south of El Calafate, from where the sumptuous Andes mountain range can be seen, with very cold temperatures. Furthermore, for the Tehuelches, Maip represents the shadow that death leaves in its wake, while we imagine that, during the Cretaceous, this great predator with its enormous size would have caused something similar”. The term “macrothorax” refers to the enormous thoracic cavity that this dinosaur possessed, which measured 1.40 meters at its widest.
Megaraptors thrived during the Cretaceous Period and were mainly distributed throughout the southern continents. These dinosaurs were hunters of other animals, and were characterized by having a low and elongated skull, equipped with more than 60 sharp teeth; their necks were elongated and flexible, and their arms were enormous and culminated in powerful claws adapted to catch and kill their victims.
Maip was discovered at Estancia La Anita in Argentina, in the province of Calafate.
The new finding was communicated to the scientific community in a published article a few days ago in the magazine Scientific Reports. In that work, the researchers propose that Maip It would be more closely related to other megaraptorids discovered in South America, while the species documented in Asia and Australia are more distant relatives. The group of South American megaraptors would have evolved from medium-sized forms (between 5 to 6 meters in length) and acquiring progressively larger sizes as their evolution progressed in the Cretaceous Period.
Maip It turns out to be the largest megaraptor known so far, while representing one of the last to inhabit the Earth before a mass extinction wiped out numerous lineages of organisms 66 million years ago.