Here's Why Scientists Say Newly Discovered Dinosaur Gualicho Shinyae Is "Cursed"

PETE MAKOVICKY, THE FIELD MUSEUM

Is it possible for the bones of an ancient dinosaur to carry a curse? Of course not, but it's become a fun inside joke among the scientists who discovered it. 

In 2007, a team of archaeologists fell under a "curse" while exploring the Huincul Formation in Argentina. It was near the end of the mission, and they still hadn't found any fossils.

"Pete joked, 'It's the last day, you'd better find something good!'" the Field Museum's chief fossil preparator Akiko Shinya recalled in a statement. "And then I almost immediately was like, 'Pete, I found something.' I could tell right away that it was good."

What Shinya found were the bones of a new type of dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period. It's called Gualicho shinyae, and like T-rex, it's a member of the two-legged theropod group. Scientists think it was a medium-sized predator (similar to the size of a polar bear) that weighed about 1,000 pounds. Despite its size, it had comically small forelimbs that weren't much bigger than a child's arms. 

Gualicho shinyae, like T-rex, had comically small forelimbs.  Giphy

Why the fossil is "cursed"

During the expedition, the scientists had some seriously bad luck. Their expedition truck rolled. No one was seriously injured, but there were many scrapes and bruises. 

The rolled truck  Pete Makovicky, The Field Museum

Then once the trip was over, the team was separated from their fossil, thanks to "bureaucratic interference," according to USA Today. It took years for them to get it back.

The team named the new dinosaur "Gaulicho" after the Gualichu spirit revered by the Tehuelche people in Patagonia. Before finding the fossil, the team joked they had fallen under the "curse of Gualichu" every time something went wrong on their trip. 

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