Paleontologists in Argentina have discovered bones they suspect belonged to a dinosaur so large that it would have been the largest living land animal ever.
Paleontologists have confirmed that a pile of bones, discovered in an Argentinian department of Patagonia, belonged to a type of dinosaur known as a sauropod, according to a research paper published in the scientific journal. Cretaceous search. Sauropods were dinosaurs with extremely long necks, tall tales, and small heads and legs that looked like stumps or poles. Prontosaurs, pterosaurs, and brachiosaurs are among the most well-known types of sauropods.
The bones discovered in Neuquen County, Argentina, appear to belong to titanosaurs, a large group of sauropods that experts believe survived until the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. That was the moment roughly 66 million years ago when an asteroid was thought to have struck the planet and wiped out the majority of the animals that lived here at the time. Until then, titanosaurs such as the famous Patagotitan and Puertasaurus are thought to have thrived in the same areas of South America where new fossils were discovered.
It is unclear whether this new dinosaur exceeds the size of the Patagotitan, as well as the size of every other known sauropod, because the fossil record is incomplete. However, scientists are fascinated by the proportions of the pelvic bones and vertebrae that have been discovered.
Alejandro Otero, a paleontologist at the Argentine Museum of La Plata and co-author of the study that reported the discovery, told Salon via email that there are a number of physical differences between the new dinosaurs and other tetanosaurs that have led scientists to believe they are different and larger species. These shapes include different parts of the vertebrae, neural spine appearance (or spike-like appendages that have appeared on the backs of many dinosaurs) and enormous differences in size. Otero also noted that “this new specimen comes from a younger age than Patagotitan.”
Otero also told Salon by email that “the sample presented here strongly indicates the coexistence of the largest and largest medium-sized titanosaurs” along with the smaller sauropods known as rebbachisaurids “at the beginning of the late Cretaceous period in Neuquen County.” This indicates that natural selection forced different species to find alternative ways to use their environment for coexistence, a phenomenon known as “gentle zoning”. The new discoveries in Patagonia “contributed to a better understanding of the phylogenetic relationships of titanosaurs, revealed the existence of a previously unknown lineage and shed light on the evolution of body mass.”
However, Otero said the new findings wouldn’t change much of what we know about paleontology without additional research.
Otero wrote to Salon, explaining that groups such as the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the European Regional Development Fund and a number of organizations: “We need to go back to the field to recover more bones to visualize more about this huge sample.” Other organizations helped fund the work that was already done on this topic.