"Thief of Tachira" is the first carnivorous dinosaur ever to be found in Venezuela, according to a new study.
Dinosaurs recovered from northern South America are rare so "Thief of Tachira" (Tachiraptor admirabilis) is all the more noteworthy. It's only the second known dinosaur from what is now Venezuela.
The new dino, described in the journal Royal Society Open Science, measured just 6.6 feet long, but it had a ravenous craving for meat.
"Tachiraptor probably preyed upon any smaller animal he could catch," lead author Max Langer explained to Discovery News.
Langer, a paleontologist at the Universidade de Sao Paulo, and his colleagues discovered Tachiraptor's remains in the Venezuelan state of Tachira. The dinosaur represents both a new genus and species.
The remains, based on radiometric dating of rocks at the site, date to 200 million years ago. This corresponds to the earliest phase of the Jurassic Period.
The date and location of the fossils help to explain how carnivorous dinosaurs spread around the world after the end of the Triassic mass extinction. That devastating event wiped out an estimated 84 percent of all species, including many dinosaur groups.