Paleontologists in Argentina have discovered the fossilized remains of a 98-million-year-old titanosaur that they say may be one of the largest animals ever to walk on Earth.
A team of researchers with Naturales y Museo, Universidad de Zaragoza, and Universidad Nacional del Comahue found the remains in 2012, but excavations only began in 2015, according to paleontologist José Luis Carbalido of the Egidio Feroglio Museum. In new Transfer Published in the journal Cretaceous Research, the group outlines their findings.
“In this contribution we present the giant titanosaur images of the Candeleros Formation (Cenomanian, about 98 Ma) from Neuquén County, consisting of an articular sequence of 20 anterior, 4 posterior caudal vertebrae and numerous hyperbolic bones. This sample clearly demonstrates the existence of a second classification of Candeleros formation , In addition to Andesaurus, is considered here to be one of the largest sauropods ever found, possibly exceeding the size of the Patagotitan, according to the published report.
Patagotitan is a species that lived 100 million to 95 million years ago, reaching 122 feet in length and weighing more than 70 tons. The new find appears to be 10% to 20% larger than that attributed to the Patagotitan, the largest dinosaur ever identified, according to statement Wed from the CTYS Scientific Agency of the National University of La Matanza.
“It’s a huge dinosaur, but we expect to find more skeletons on future field trips, so we will have the possibility to deal with confidence in its true size,” said Alejandro Otero, a paleontologist at Museo de Argentina Plata, Tell CNN via email.
But the researchers don’t really know what they found.
“While anatomical analysis does not currently allow us to be a new species, the morphological variation and lack of equivalent elements with respect to the common taxa also prevent us from assigning this new substance to already known genera. The initial phylogenetic analysis places this new specimen at the base of the clade leading to Lognkosauria, in polytomy with Bonitasaura; the specimen reported here strongly suggests the presence of large and medium-sized titanosaurs with small-sized ribachiosaurs at the beginning of the late Cretaceous period in Neuquen County, indicating a supposed specialized division, the report says.
Titanosaurs belong to the sauropod family, which means that they were herbivores, with massive bodies, long necks and tails, Phys.org mentioned. “Such dinosaurs had little concern about meat-eating enemies if they managed to grow to full size. Their fossils have been found on all continents except Antarctica. The researchers concluded by noting that more digging in the region will likely reveal more fossils.” Of the same dinosaur, perhaps evidence of its true size. “
Paleontologists are still searching for more body parts buried deep in the rocks, especially the femur or humerus, which can be used to more accurately estimate the body mass of the extinct organism.
“We have more than half the tail, and a lot of thigh bones,” said Carblido, who also worked on the Batagotitanian classification a few years ago. “It’s clearly still in the rock, so we have some more years to dig.”
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