December 20, 2011
Researchers Unearth Antarctic Fossil Of A Giant, Plant-Eating Dinosaur
Remains of a new specimen of titanosaur, a group of plant-eating dinosaurs with extremely long necks and tails, have been found for the first time on what is now Antarctica, and come from a time when the frozen continent was warmer and teemed with plant life.
Dr. Ignacio Alejandro Cerda, from the Conicet research institute in Argentina, and colleagues wrote in the German journal Naturwissenschaften: “Our finding indicates that advanced titanosaurs achieved a global distribution at least by the Late Cretaceous.”
The new specimen, consisting of section of vertebrae almost 20-centimeters long, believed to have come from the middle third of the dinosaur´s tail. It was discovered on James Ross Island by an Argentinian-led team, who identified the fossils as belonging to a lithostrotian titanosaur from the Late Cretaceous period of around 70 million years ago.
These titanosaurs were the predominant group of sauropod dinosaurs until the extinction of all non-bird dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous.
Although they were one of the most widespread and successful species of sauropod dinosaurs, their origin and dispersion are not completely understood and this discovery of a single vertebrae fossil yielded too little information to allow speculation about the dinosaur´s species.
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