Time to update the history book’s Jurassic Chapter!
On the heels of hell-chicken, come two dinosaur updates – this time from Argentina. New evidence is showing that the largest known pre-Cretaceous creature may have some competition – and that some dinosaurs actually lived into the Cretaceous period.
When remains of a long-necked, whip-tailed diplodocid were encountered recently in Patagonia, the findings suggested our pre-historic pals were trotting across la tierra a bit longer than we’d thought – past the Jurassic era.
Youngest ever diplodocid discovered in South America – proving that they survived well into the Cretaceous period. http://t.co/FsrqIzciaR
— IFLScience (@IFLScience) May 16, 2014
“It was a surprise, because the first remains we found were very deteriorated and we didn’t think much of them,” said researcher Pablo Gallina, before adding, “but later through careful laboratory work, cleaning rock from the bones, we could see that they were from a diplodocid, something unthinkable for South America,”
Paul Upchurch, a Paleobiologist at the University College London (not involved in the study) agrees, saying, “Here’s evidence that one or two groups got through.” He went on to add, “Rather than a total extinction, that it was devastating, but it didn’t completely kill them off.”
And speaking of “big” news – Argentina was on a role this week, when a local farm worker stumbled upon the ancient frame of a far larger dinosaur.
— Abel Valdivia (@AbelValdivia) May 18, 2014
Aw. That’s a definite
Kodak Instagram moment. Who ever said your job can’t cuddle you at night? Or day for that matter? More importantly – can you imagine being the guy who came across that?
Weighing in at 77 tons (that’s about 14 African elephants in weight), 65 feet tall, and 130 feet long, this guy might just take the colossal cake compared to its cohorts – or any creature. Ever. As the picture shows, when this titanosaur sauntered through the forests 100 million years ago, his thigh bones alone would have stood taller than Fred Flintstone carrying Pebbles on his shoulders.
“Standing with its neck up, it was about 20 metres high – equal to a seven-storey building, “ Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol, who head the research team, described.
While it’s a bit premature to start spouting superlatives, some believe this titanosaur might take the title of “world’s largest” from another Patagonia sauropod rival called Argentinosaurus. But, according to dinosaur expert Dr. Paul Barrett (of London’s Natural History Museum), that will be difficult to discern while scientists are still minus a full skeleton:
“Without knowing more about this current find it’s difficult to be sure,” Barrett explained to BBC news, adding that, “One problem with assessing the weight of both Argentinosaurus and this new discovery is that they’re both based on very fragmentary specimens – no complete skeleton is known, which means the animal’s proportions and overall shape are conjectural.”
The fossils (gathered from seven different titanosaurs) are in a state of “remarkable condition.”
As for the video up top? Well, since these behemoths ate leaves instead of animals, you can assuage your anachronistic fears about a lunchtime encounter, Miss News Anchor Lady. Unless, of course, your pre-historic Delorian roadtrip with Doc sends you right under his mammoth gams.
So, ya know… Avoid that if possible.
Image via Youtube