Scientists In Argentina Discover Fossils From What They Call One Of The World’s Largest Land Animals Ever
Scientists have unearthed in Argentina’s Patagonian wilderness fossils of what may be the oldest-known member of the dinosaur group known as titanosaurs that includes the largest land animals in Earth’s history.
The discovery is significant since it appears that these mega-large dinosaurs may have lived on Earth sooner than we thought, and that they may have originated from the Southern Hemisphere.
The fossils found in Argentina are from the Ninjatitan, thought to live on Earth more than 140 million years ago.
Scientists have unearthed fossils of what may be the oldest-known member of the dinosaur group known as titanosaurs, known as Ninjatitan. The dinosaur’s incomplete skeletal remains were discovered in Argentina’s Patagonian wilderness, south of the city of Neuquen.
The creature was named after Argentine paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia, nicknamed “El Ninja,” and technician Rogelio Zapata, according to AFP.
“It is the oldest record known, not only from Argentina but worldwide,” study lead author Pablo Gallina, a researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina (CONICET), told Reuters.
“This discovery is also very important for the knowledge of the evolutionary history of sauropods because the fossil records of the Early Cretaceous epoch, in around 140 million years ago, are really very scarce throughout the world,” he said in a statement.
At a length of about 65 feet (20 meters), Ninjatitan was a large dinosaur, but much smaller than later titanosaurs such as Argentinosaurus that reached a length of around 115 feet (35 meters). The researchers also said the presence of such an early titanosaur in Patagonia supports the idea that titanosaurs originated in the Southern Hemisphere.
Titanosaurs were likely the largest dinosaurs to ever roam the Earth.
Titanosaurs are a group of long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs that may have been the largest animals ever to walk the Earth, according to Reuters. Known as Ninjatitan zapatai, the recently discovered animal was about 66 feet in length and had a long neck and tail, Sci-News said.
The new discovery meant titanosaurs lived longer ago than previously thought – at the beginning of the Cretaceous era that ended with the demise of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.
Titanosaurs are part of a larger dinosaur group called sauropods that includes others with similar body designs such as Brontosaurus and Diplodocus that lived in North America during the Jurassic Period, which preceded the Cretaceous Period.
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