Researchers have unearthed 24 vertebrae belonging to a titanosaur in northern Patagonia, as well as some bones from its pelvis. The skeleton could be larger than that of the Patagotitan, a species whose discovery was announced in 2017.
The fossilized skeleton of a gigantic dinosaur, buried for 98 million years, emerges from the ground in Argentina. And according to New Scientist, this creature may be “The largest land animal scientists have ever found”.
The scientific magazine refers to the work of researchers from the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina, published in the journal Cretaceous Research, who are carrying out excavations in the province of Neuquén, in northern Patagonia.
Scientists have unearthed 24 vertebrae belonging to a titanosaur, as well as some bones in its pelvis. This group of long-necked “sauropod” dinosaurs has lived all over the world, says New Scientist, but some of the last titanosaurs lived in South America. They evolved there to become giants, like the Patagotitan, a species of titanosaur whose discovery was announced in 2017 in another Argentine province and which is sometimes considered “Like the largest terrestrial animal that ever existed”.
Fossils unearthed in the province of Neuquén belong to an animal “Considered to be one of the largest sauropods ever found, probably exceeding in size the Patagotitan [dont on estime qu’il faisait 37 mètres et pesait 69 tonnes]”, wrote the researchers.
These are not sure “Of the species to which the bones might belong”, observe New Scientist, but they claim that there are “Clear differences” between these bones and those of dinosaurs previously unearthed in the area, including the Patagotitan. The fossilized skeleton they discovered could therefore be that of an unknown titanosaur.
Aline Ghilardi, researcher at the Brazilian University of Rio Grande do Norte, told the magazine to be careful “As to the claim that the discovered dinosaur could be larger than the Patagotitan”. Several recent discoveries have been qualified “Biggest titanosaur ever found”, precise New Scientist, before these statements are revised “As a result of further analysis”.
But according to Ghilardi, who was not involved in the research, Neuquén’s dinosaur is “Without a doubt a huge animal, among the largest ever discovered”. Excavations must continue – some of the bones have been unearthed, while others have only been detected – and the estimate of the size of the skeleton could be improved.
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