Ubirajara, the controversy rages on.

At the moment these pictures were happening, I couldn’t post them for obvious reasons… this is Hector “Splintersaurus” Munive and Dahlia Castillo working on the first-ever model of Ubirajara, the strange, protofeathered and exotically ornate Sinosauropteryx-like theropod from Brazil I had reconstructed a while ago and was commenting in the previous post. He was basing this sculpture (soon to be released) on the technical drawing by the authors of the paper, and my own reconstruction…

Interestingly enough, I’ve just got this important article (courtesy of Marcos Pinheiro)


It seems that the publication of such valuable specimen is in trouble after all, and the paper has been withdrawn from Science magazine.

“This type of letter is normal, but usually discussing academic issues. In this case, it was different. In addition to discussing some points about the description of the dinosaur, we asked ethical questions, which are of interest to Brazilian society. The main point is regarding the legality of this fossil being out of the country, ” paleontologist Taissa Rodrigues told Sputnik Brasil.

So what next for Ubirajara? Ruffling feathers is say little… I hope this matter gets settled as soon as possible! I’d very much like to hear the opinions scientific and otherwise from the Brazilian palaeontologists.

About luisvrey

Paleo Illustration
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3 Responses to Ubirajara, the controversy rages on.

  1. Marcos Kashiwaya Pinheiro says:

    Happy to help with dinosaur research, Luis!
    To be honest, I too was caught by surprise. I made a post on Twitter about Ubirajara jubatus from the Crato Formation and its discovery importance. Then immediately, my dear Brazilian paleofriends warned me the sad truth behind this beautiful and spectacular fossilized specimen that it was smuggled. So I decided to remove that post, because I don’t want to be seen like I support the fossil smuggling in my home (Brazil). That’s why I’m warning the others (including you), because this issue is paleo serious for Brazil and other countries.
    I agree that the holotypes of Ubirajara jubatus and Irritator challengeri and other fossils from the Araripe Basin were indeed smuggled out of Brazil to Germany in the 1990s and yet the authors of the Ubirajara paper have violated the laws in Brazil with its fossils. So I am too supporting the #UbirajarabelongstoBR and also #IrritatorbelongstoBR campaigns for their repatriation and hopefully the other fossils too.
    “So what’s next for Ubirajara”? I hope that this issue is settled with those Araripe fossils returning home. Some people don’t or won’t agree with me, but Brazil does have lots of great scientists, laboratories and museums of natural history to preserve, study and take very good care of those fossils. Even after the terrible 2018 fire on National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.
    Long live the Brazil’s paleontology!
    Viva a paleontologia do Brasil!

  2. luisvrey says:

    Many thanks for your input, that is duly noted and made public. Let’s see if the problem can be resolved one way or another. It is a sad situation because the specimen is very interesting and important… but I also feel that Brazilian palaeontologists should have a say in this, and I’m not referring simply to the ethics of the issue (that is itself a big problem), but I’m also not quite convinced that the restoration proposed by the authors of the paper should be the definitive one!

  3. David Marjanović says:

    Unsurprisingly, Sputnik “News” got something wrong: the “temporarily retracted” paper wasn’t in Science, but in Cretaceous Research.

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