Argentinian titanosaur might be the oldest at this point, the study finds

A monster dinosaur delved up in Argentina could be the oldest titanosaur at any point found, having meandered what is currently Patagonia exactly 140 million years prior toward the start of the Cretaceous period, researchers said on Sunday.

The 65-foot (20-meter) lizard, Ninjatitan zapatai, was found in 2014 in the Neuquen territory of southwest Argentina, the La Matanza University announced in its investigation.

“The main importance of this fossil, apart from being a new species of titanosaur, is that it is the oldest recorded for this group worldwide,” a statement quoted specialist Pablo Gallina of the Conicet scientific council as saying.

Titanosaurs were individuals from the sauropod group – colossal plant-eating lizards with long necks and tails that may have been the biggest animals ever to walk the Earth.

The new disclosure, the statement said, implied titanosaurs lived longer prior than previously thought – toward the start of the Cretaceous period that finished with the end of the dinosaurs nearly 66 million years prior.

Fossils from 140 million years prior are “really very scarce” said Gallina, fundamental author of an investigation published in the Argentinian scientific journal Ameghiniana.

The animal was named after Argentinian scientist Sebastian Apesteguia, nicknamed “El Ninja”, and technician Rogelio Zapata.