Fossils of the oldest member of an enormous dinosaur group discovered in Argentina

Researchers have uncovered in Argentina’s Patagonian wilderness fossils of what might be the oldest-known member of the dinosaur group known as titanosaurs that remembers the biggest land animals in Earth’s history.

Specialists said on Monday the fossils represent a dinosaur species named Ninjatitan zapatai that lived 140 million years prior during the Cretaceous Period. They recognized Ninjatitan as a titanosaur, a group of long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs that walked on four pillar-like legs.

The dinosaur’s inadequate skeletal remaining parts were found south of the city of Neuquen. The analysts said Ninjatitan showed that the titanosaurs as a group initially showed up longer back than recently known.

“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. “Titanosaurs are recorded on various sides of the world, but the oldest-known records were more modern than this find.”

At a length of around 65 feet (20 meters), Ninjatitan was an enormous dinosaur, yet a lot more modest than later titanosaurs, for example, Argentinosaurus that arrived at a length of around 115 feet (35 meters). The specialists additionally said the presence of a particularly early titanosaur in Patagonia supports the possibility that titanosaurs started in the Southern Hemisphere.

The discoveries were published in the scientific journal Ameghiniana.

Titanosaurs are essential for a bigger dinosaur group called sauropods that incorporates others with comparative body designs, for example, Brontosaurus and Diplodocus that lived in North America during the Jurassic Period, which went before the Cretaceous Period.

Some of the titanosaurs that inhabited Patagonia achieved enormous proportions like Argentinosaurus, Patagotitan and Dreadnoughtus.

José Luis Carbadillo, another CONICET scientist, told a local university publication that the age of Ninjatitan’s remaining parts might have led individuals to assume that the bones had a place with a dinosaur group that pre-dated titanosaurs.

“In Patagonia, titanosaurs are only known about from less than 120 million years ago,” he said.

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