Fossil of new dinosaur species discovered in Argentina
Fossil of new dinosaur species discovered in Argentina
A rendering of an Ingentia prima is seen in this handout image
12 July, 2018, 23:24
The creature changes our understanding of how this group of species became such an vast size.
Its growth was fuelled by bird-like lungs that would have made it remarkably light on its feet considering its vast size. The authors say many of these adaptations were not specific to gigantism, instead allowing for greater mobility as I. prima moved across the Triassic landscape. That is 205 million years ago.
The newly identified bus-size beast - named Ingentia prima, which means "first giant" in Latin - weighed up to 11 tons (10 metric tons) and measured up to 32 feet (10 meters) long. We found a shape, the first giant one among all the dinosaurs.
This period was a pivotal stage in the history of dinosaurs, but the fossil record is so incomplete it obscures details of this crucial evolutionary change.
What is really unexpected is that the lessemsaurids achieved their huge bodies independently of the very big sauropods like Brontosaurus and Diplodocus, which did indeed evolve later during the Jurassic.
However, this new find shows it happened in less than half that time. Gigantism evolved in most of the dinosaurs, especially herbivores, providing them with protection against carnivores.
The team also found biological evidence for just how the creature managed to get so big so early. Moreover, scientists do not exclude that "the era of giants" could have started even earlier, as nessesary, the closest relatives of Ingentia prima appeared 215 million years ago.
Dr Apaldetti said the climate would have been warm, with periodic monsoons. producing an African savanna style landscape, with plenty of shrubs on which Ingentia prima would feed.
They were discovered in a dinosaur "nest" unearthed at a World Heritage site known for its fossils in Argentina's north western San Juan province.
Excavators uncovered several vertebrae from the neck and tail as well as fore and hind leg bones.
Researchers believe that the herbivore quadruped dinosaurs, distinguished by their very long neck and tail, had a body mass of about 10 tons - approximately the weight of two or three elephants. It possessed a bird-like respiratory system, related to the development of air sacs inside the body that gave it large reserves of oxygenated air and kept it cool despite its large size. At the end of the Triassic period it was a type of savannah. It belongs to a group of dinosaurs known as sauropods, which includes some of the largest land animals ever known to have existed.
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