Fossil of the 'first giant' dinosaur found in Argentina

Huge new gentle giant dinosaur the size of a double decker bus discovered in Argentina

Huge new gentle giant dinosaur the size of a double decker bus discovered in Argentina

"That in Latin means the "first giant". "It was at least twice as large as the other herbivores of the time".

This speciman changes our understanding of how this group of species became such an vast size. Now palaeontologists have made a discovery in Argentina, and it is enormous, in terms of the size.

Ingentia Prima was about 33 feet (10 metres) long, 14 feet (4 metres) tall and weighed up to ten tonnes. That is 205 million years ago. Instead of 180 million years ago in the Jurassic Period, the largest of dinosaurs lived in the Late Triassic Period.

Fossils of the creature called Ingentia prima, a species of sauropodomorph, suggest that dinosaurs grew in size 30 million years earlier than previously thought.

This period was a pivotal stage in the history of dinosaurs, but the fossil record is so incomplete it obscures details of this crucial evolutionary change. Until now, it was believed it emerged with the appearance of the first sauropods in the Jurassic period.

However, this new find shows it happened in less than half that time. Their distant ancestors were small, agile, two-legged dinosaurs known as prosauropods.

To turn into towering beasts, it was believed the development of straight legs for support and continuous, rapid growth were essential.

Ingentia prima was a four-legged herbivore which lived about 47 million years before diplodocus.

Dr Apaldetti said the climate would have been warm, with periodic monsoons. producing an African savannah style landscape, with plenty of shrubs on which Ingentia prima would feed.

"Gigantism is an evolutionary survival strategy, especially for herbivorous animals, because size is a form of defense against predators", Apaldetti said.

Baldetti, and her colleagues found that this was not the case, studying the remains of a unique dinosaur that her team found in the Central part of Argentina, in the province of San Juan. As for the bones, they belonged to the neck, tail, front and back legs. "These creatures, Ingentia prima, grew up exactly the way it did the other dinosaurs of that era that says that the giant dinosaurs appeared much earlier than we thought", - told Cecilia, Apalette from the Argentine University of San Juan. Analysis showed that I. prima weighed between seven and 10 tons (the largest African elephants weight between six and seven tons), and it already exhibited an elongated neck and long tail, though not almost as pronounced as those seen later.

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