May 20, 2024

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They discover a new titanosaur in Patagonia that could revolutionize the course of paleontology

They discover a new titanosaur in Patagonia that could revolutionize the course of paleontology

Fossil remains of Titanomachya gimenezi, discovered in the La Colonia Formation, Chubut, Argentina (Vincent Brusca)

An important new discovery that shook the world Paleontology. A team of researchers from Conisit They found fossil remains of a type of titanosaur called Titanomachia geminisi, Who lived about 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. It weighed approximately 7 tons and was ten times smaller than others of its kind.

The remains were found in La Cologne traininglocated in the province Chubut. It is the second dinosaur found in this place, but it is the first sauropod, meaning it belongs to the group of the largest land vertebrates in evolutionary history, and is characterized by being a herbivore. This discovery came within the framework of a campaign carried out by researchers from CONICET at the La Plata Museum (MLP, UNLP) And the Egidio Ferroglio Museum of Paleontology (MEF) in Treglio.

According to what they pointed out, its size was small compared to other giants found in Chubut, such as Mayor of PatagotitanIts length was estimated at about 40 meters, its neck was 12 meters long, and its estimated weight was 70 tons. he T gemenesi I stayed still Patagonia During the Maastrichtian Period, the last epoch of the Cretaceous that preceded the mass extinction.

As they point out, the ecological reconstruction of the La Colonia Formation “suggests that at that time these environments were dominated by estuaries or lakes, that is, their environment had a diverse flora that included palms and aquatic plants with flowers and conifers.” Details of the discovery were published in the scientific journal Historical biology.

The strange shape of T. gimenezi suggests an evolutionary link between dinosaur lineages. (Courtesy CONICET)

Agustín Pérez MorenoCONICET Postdoctoral Fellow and Lead author of the studyHe led the excavations that allowed us to recover parts of limbs, fragments of ribs, and the tail vertebra of the dinosaur. “The extraction process was very precise and ten people participated as required implicate The scientist explained that the remains were made of burlap and gypsum shirts to protect them before they were transported to the MEF laboratories.

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Unlike other sauropods that were discovered in the same region, such as sauropods Mayor of Patagotitan, T gemenesi It is characterized by its relatively small size. “The morphology of the ankle – the bone responsible for distributing force coming from the leg to the inside of the foot – has never been seen before in other titanosaurs and shows features intermediate between the lineages. Colossusauria And Saltasauroidea, which highlights its evolutionary importance. Furthermore, evolutionary studies have revealed that it is specifically a member of the great lineage of Saltasauroidea' commented the researcher.

This peculiarity highlights the evolutionary importance of dinosaurs and contributes to the understanding of the diversification of titanosaurs during the Paleolithic. Upper Cretaceous. The research sheds light on the types of sauropods that inhabited the region Patagonia During the Maastrichtthe last era of the Cretaceous period and provides valuable data on the ecosystems of that time.

Analysis of T. gimenezi fossils contributes to understanding the evolution of titanosaurs (Vincent Brusca)

“It is known that the formation revealed various fossils of… Carnivorous dinosaurs And Plesiosaurs And even turtles and other reptiles. Pérez Moreno noted that the findings at La Colonia not only provide important information about sauropod populations in Patagonia during the end of the Cretaceous period, but also about the diversity of ecosystems in the region at that time.

In turn, the paleontologist added, “Titanomachia geminisi Teach the The beginning of a series of discoveries In the La Colonia Formation, as the project progresses, it is expected that new species of dinosaurs will be gradually revealed, accompanied by ecological and paleoenvironmental reconstructions that will provide a more complete view of the prehistoric world in which these magnificent animals lived and disappeared. “.

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“It stands as Interesting discovery The researcher added, “This adds a new perspective to the rich history of sauropod dinosaurs in Patagonia during the Late Cretaceous period and opens the door to future research that delves into the diversity and evolution of these majestic giants.”

Fossil remains of titanosaurs found in Chubut: ribs, vertebrae, limb bones and part of a hip (Courtesy of CONICET)

Regarding the name, Pérez Moreno noted that it is “particularly appropriate, because Titanomachia geminisi “It comes from the time when titanosaurs became extinct.” Meanwhile, in “The Word Gemenzi We pay tribute to the late scholar Olga JimenezWho was the first paleontologist to study dinosaurs in Chubut Province. “His legacy left an indelible mark, and this naming seeks to honor his pioneering contribution to understanding the rich paleontological history of the region.”

For his part, the paleontologist diego paul, From the Egidio Ferroglio Paleontological Museum, he highlighted that “before this discovery, there were no records of sauropod dinosaurs in this area,” and that “the remains were disjointed but placed close together.” According to him, after finding ribs, vertebrae, limb bones and part of a hip, the dinosaur had body dimensions Big cow It has a long neck and tail, reaching a length of about six meters.

“The findings at La Colonia provide not only important information about sauropod assemblages in Patagonia during the end of the Cretaceous, but also about the diversity of ecosystems in the region at that time,” since the formation is known to have “uncovered various fossils.” . “From carnivorous dinosaurs and plesiosaurs to turtles and other reptiles,” the National Geographic explorer said.

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According to researchers, this is one of the campaigns being implemented in the region. After that, further experiments will be carried out in cooperation with specialists from the Research Institute of Paleobiology and Geology (IIPG, CONICET-UNRN). It should be noted that the discovery was made within the framework of the project “The End of the Age of Dinosaurs in Patagonia“, funded by National Geographicwhich aims to study all biological and ecological aspects of the time when non-avian dinosaurs became extinct.