A new longneck dinosaur has been discovered in South America. The dinosaur is much smaller than other longneck dinosaurs, but is a relative of Apatosaurus and Diplodocus. The dinosaur is the first longneck to ever be discovered in South America and is believed to have lived during the Cretaceous Period.
Most longneck dinosaurs lived during the Jurassic period and had died out by the Cretaceous Period. The mini longneck would have also lived during the Jurassic Period and into the Cretaceous Period as well.
One of the most unique things about the newly discovered dinosaur is that it was much smaller than its cousins. Most longneck dinosaurs or diplodocids were at least 65 feet long. The newly discovered longneck species would have only grown to be about 30 feet long and would have been much shorter than other diplodocids as well.
"This may be the smallest of the diplodocids," said study researcher Pablo Gallina, a paleontologist at the Universidad Maimonides in Buenos Aires.
It took three trips to Patagonia in 2010, 2012 and 2013 for the team to excavate the entire dinosaur skeleton. The skeleton was not complete, but there was enough of it for researchers to determine that it was a new species of dinosaur.
The dinosaur has been named Leinkupal laticauda. When the bones of the dinosaur were first discovered, the scientists were not sure if it was worth excavating because the bones have become so eroded. They were not able to find any other skeletons and decided to go ahead and excavate the bones anyways.
Once the dinosaur was removed from the dirt, the scientists realized that they had found something special and became excited. They will continue to study the skeleton to learn more about the dinosaur and how it may have lived over 140 million years ago.
Image via Wikimedia Commons