Fossil footprints dating back 90 million years were determined to belong to the world's largest dinosaur

Fossil footprints dating back 90 million years were determined to belong to the world’s largest dinosaur

Scientists announced yesterday they had unearthed a Titanosaur measuring approximately 25 metres long from the tip of the nose to the tail in Brazil

 

The larger neck bone of the Austroposeidon Magnifcus found in Brazil

A Titanosaur discovered 90 million years after it roamed the earth measured 25 metres long – making it one of the largest dinosaurs discovered.

The fossil discovered in Brazil has been identified as the largest dinosaur to have lived in the south American country.

Scientists announced yesterday they had unearthed a Titanosaur measuring approximately 25 metres long from the tip of the nose to the tail.

The Austroposeidon magnificus species was a herbivore and with its long neck and relatively small skull, it stood about eight metres high.

Paleontologist Alexander Kellner, with the bones, described them as a major discovery

The Titanosaur roamed the earth up to 90 million years ago

Researchers at the Earth Sciences Museum in Rio de Janeiro said it inhabited the earth around 70 and 90 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period.

Fragments of the dinosaur’s bones were first found on a construction site for a new road near the city of Presidente Prudente, in the state of S o Paulo, in the 1950s by one of Brazil’s first palaeontologists, Llewellyn Ivor Pryce.

 

Pryce died in 1980 without ever knowing the significance of his find.

Alexander Kellner, a paleontologist at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) said: “It was only after we finished studying the dinosaur that we realised that we had found something new. This is a major discovery for Brazil and it’s been a long time coming.”

Fossils from the Austroposeidon Magnifcus in Brazil

Fragments of bones from the neck vertabrae and dorsal vertebrae

The main reason for the delay in uncovering the importance of the bones was due to the lack of funds and inadequate support for scientific initiatives in Brazil said scientists.

Kellner added: “Over the years we have had to make hard choices on what particular projects to develop with our limited funds.

“We knew this particular specimen was very big and that it would take some time for us to study and to prepare scientific descriptions.

In all it cost around R$10,000 (£2,500) to carry out the work. A miniscule amount of money for such an important find.

“Only several pieces of bone from the dinosaur’s neck vertebrae and dorsal vertebrae have ever been found.”

The preserved fossils have been stored at the Earth Sciences Museum under controlled ambient temperatures, with all rock and dirt sediments carefully removed.

Researchers analysed some of the material of the new species, accessing the inside of the bones with the aid of a CT scanner.

(L to R) Smaller neck vertevra of Maxakalisauras topai next to the larger neck bone of the Austroposeidon magnifcus with fragments of dorsal bones of the giant dinosaur beside it

Prior to this discovery, Brazil’s largest dinosaur was the Maxakalisaurus topai, which measured over 13 meters long, half the size of the Austroposeidon magnificus.

Discussing the find Kellner said: “In comparison with the neck vertebrae of the Maxakalisaurus topai, the centrum of the neck vertebrae of this new animal is very large.

“This shows us the huge difference between these two dinosaurs. The new giant one has an estimated length of 25 metres, greater than the 13 metre Maxakalisaurus topai.”

Researchers said the Austroposeidon magnificus has characteristics very similar to the Mendozasaurus and Futalognkosaurus species found in Argentina, these creatures were also huge.

The fossils from the neck and dorsal vertebrae

Kamila Bandeira, a UFRJ paleontology researcher who participated in the research said: “This is the first giant dinosaur found in Brazil and it indicates that we probably have other species even larger than this one which are still waiting to be discovered.”

Di genes de Almeida Campos, director of the Earth Sciences Museum, said: “This reinforces what we call paleodiversity, which is a way of describing the variety of species of these animals. All of us, including Pryce, already believed that there were animals of this size in Brazil, but we could not demonstrate or prove it.

“Today, we have taken a huge step forward towards uncovering the evolutionary information about the dinosaurs that lived here.”

 

 

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