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Argentine scientist claims to discover foot of rare dinosaur

July 24, 1997

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ An Argentine scientist says he’s discovered the foot of a 90 million-year-old dinosaur _ a meat-eating predator previously thought never to have made it to the Southern Hemisphere.

Fernando Novas of the Museum of Natural History in Buenos Aires found a skeletal foot and a claw belonging to the dinosaur while digging for fossils in the southern Patagonian province of Neuquen in January.

``It’s quite complete and very well preserved,″ Novas told the newspaper Clarin. He announced his discovery late Tuesday, naming it araucanoraptor argentynus.

The araucanoraptors were nearly 4-feet tall, more than 8-feet long and weighed about 65 pounds. They were distant cousins of the velociraptors, featured in the film ``Jurassic Park.″

Remains of similar dinosaurs previously had been discovered in Canada and Mongolia, but never in the Southern Hemisphere, Novas told reporters.

``Until recently, scientists maintained that dinosaurs in the northern hemisphere were very different from their cousins in the southern hemisphere,″ said Novas, whose work is sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

Earlier this year, Novas announced the discovery in Neuquen of 90-million-year-old fossils of an extinct Patagonian reptile with winglike forearms. He said it gave powerful new evidence that birds evolved millions of years ago from dinosaurs.

Neuquen, a windswept and mountainous province, is 762 miles southwest of Buenos Aires.

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