Scientists have said that the colossal dinosaur excavated in Argentina appears to be the oldest titanosaur ever discovered, living in present-day Patagonia about 140 million years ago in the early Cretaceous.
Titanosar lizard Ninjatitan zapatai up to 20 meters high was discovered in 2014 in the province of Neuquen in southwestern Argentina. Recently it turned out that the fossil remains belong not only to the largest, but also to the oldest dinosaur of all living.
Titanosaurs were members of a group of sauropods – giant plant-eating lizards with long necks and tails. They are the largest animals that have ever lived on the planet.
A new study, published in the Argentine scientific journal Ameghiniana, says that titanosaurs lived much longer than previously thought – at the beginning of the Cretaceous era, which ended with the death of dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.
Pablo Gallina from the Maimonides University (Argentina) and his colleagues found that these bones belonged to a titanosaur about 20 meters long. Scientists have never seen dinosaurs of this species before. In addition, it turned out that this is the oldest known titanosaur known to science.
According to Gallina and his colleagues, the find speaks in favor of the fact that South America was the ancestral home of the Titanosaurs. It was from there, according to scientists, that these dinosaurs settled on the rest of the planet.
The Argentine titanosaur Ninjatitan zapatai is named after the Argentinean paleonto log of Sebastian Apestegia, nicknamed “El Ninja” and the technique of Rogelio Zapata. The results of the new study are shedding light on the origins and history of both titanosaurs and sauropods. Scientists have studied fragments of dinosaur bones found in the north of Patagonia, in the rocks of the early Cretaceous period (145-140 million years ago).