New species of sauropod dinosaurs discovered in Argentina


A team of Spanish and Argentinian paleontologists discovered the remains of a dinosaur that lived 110 million years ago in the center of the country, the National University of La Matanza revealed on Friday.

The remains came from three separate dinosaurs from the herbivorous group of sauropods, the most famous of which are Diplodocus and Brontosaurus. This new species was called Lavocatisaurus agrioensis.

"We've discovered most of the skull bones: mouth, jaws, many teeth, as well as bones that define, for example, eye sockets and thus we have created almost complete reconstruction," said Jose Luis Carballido, museum researcher Egidio Feruglio and national research council.

Parts of the neck, tail and back were also found.

"Not only is the discovery of a new species in an area where you would not expect to find fossils, but the skull is almost complete," added Carballido.

The remains belonged to an adult about 12 meters (39 feet) long and two juveniles from about six to seven meters long.

Paleontologists say that dinosaurs moved in a group and died together.

"The discovery of an adult and two juveniles also means the first record of group relocation among the Rebbachisaurus dinosaurs," said lead author Jose Ignacio Canudo from the University of Zaragoza.

The area in which the fossils were found is unusual for dinosaurs, because it would be a desert with sporadic lakes in that era.

Sauropods were the largest creatures in the world. It is believed that the Supersaurus can reach a length of 33-34 meters, and the Argentinosaurus can weigh up to 120 tons.

They were herbivorous, quadrupeds with long necks and tails, massive bodies and small heads.

However, the discovery in Neuquen, published in the scientific journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, remains a huge surprise.

"Although you can imagine that this group of sauropods could adapt to moving in drier environments, with little vegetation, low humidity and little water, this is an area where you would not be looking for fossils," said Carballido.

Published in the Daily Times, November 5th 2018.


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