Paleontologists have discovered the remains of a new species of dinosaurs in the Argentine central province of Neuquén – a region that once was an arid desert.
The bones, which date back about 110 million years ago, actually belong to three separate animals – an adult measuring about 39 feet in length and two childhood dinosaurs that come in less than half of them, reported AFP.
The team led by researchers at the National University of La Matanza in Buenos Aires named the new species Lavocatisaurus agrioensis. It belongs to the group of herbivorous dinosaurs – a diverse collection of animals characterized by very long necks, long tails, relatively small heads and four legs thick, similar to the pillars.
Many sauropods have grown to enormous size and, in fact, the group contains the largest animals that have ever lived on land such as Supersaurus, which could grow to more than 110 feet in length and Argentinosaurus that can weigh to 110 tons. Other notable members of the group include Diplodocus and Brontosaurus.
Surprisingly, researchers have discovered most skull skins, allowing them to create almost complete reconstruction, according to an article published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica which describes the discovery. Sections of neck, tail and back were found.
The number of bones discovered was not the only unusual aspect of the discovery. Remnants of dinosaurs did not expect to be found in this area because it was a desert when these animals lived.
"Not only is the discovery of a new species in an area where you do not expect to find fossils, but the skull is almost complete," said Jose Luis Carballido, author of Patagonia's Egidio Feruglio Museum of Palaeontology, told AFP.
"While it can be imagined that this group of sauropods would have been adapted to move in more arid areas with little vegetation, a little moisture and a little water, it's an area where you will not be looking for fossils," he said .
Researchers believe the dinosaurs have moved together and disappeared at the same time.
"This discovery of an adult and two minors also means the first record of a group movement among rebacchisuristic dinosaurs," said Jose Ignacio Canudo, lead author of the study at the University of Zaragoza, Spain.