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Lizards grow up “jerks”.
Remains of giant dinosaur found in Argentina indicate that the ancestors of the Diplodocus and other sauropods were the biggest animals on Earth unexpectedly early, before the start of the Jurassic period. Write about the scientists, who published an article in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
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“When we found the first remains of this dinosaur, we realized he was unique. In fact, he was the first giant among dinosaurs. 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,” says Cecilia Apalette (Cecilia Apaldetti) from the University of San Juan (Argentina).
Find, Baldetti and her colleagues belong to the number of sauropods — large quadrupedal herbivorous dinosaurs, making rate of its huge mass, a huge number of eggs in the clutch and rapid growth of young animals. Their shining example are considered to be the argentinosaurus, the giants with a length of 35 meters and weighing about 90 tons.
For a long time, as noted, Apalette, scientists believed that their ancestors appeared in the late Triassic period, about 210 million years ago. The first sauropods had a rather small size — they weighed from 1 to 10 kg and reach lengths of a meter and was more similar to the later bipedal dinosaurs, four-legged than the giants of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Large size, scientists believe they began to be achieved only in the middle and at the end of the Jurassic period, about 180-155 million years ago, when the first neosauropods, including Diplodocus, argentinosaurus and all of the largest dinosaurs of that era.
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. Here, as noted by paleontologists, overlie rocks of norisova and Rhaetian tiers, formed in the late Triassic period, approximately 210-205 million years ago.
In these deposits, according to scientists, paleontologists quite often find the remains of the so-called lessemsaurus — sauropods with a length of 6-9 meters and a height of about one meter, is considered among the largest living beings of his time.
Next to the remains of these dinosaurs team, Apalette found an even larger dinosaur, whose height was about 10 meters, and the weight was close to ten tons. This creature, named Ingentia prima, “first giant” in Latin, was more like its anatomy in the later sauropods than on his contemporaries.
These similarities, in particular, showed that the bones of these dinosaurs present the same “air bags” that helped them to cool themselves and maintain your body, which paleontologists find the remains of the Diplodocus and argentinosaurus. In addition, they possessed a long neck and tail, and rapidly gaining ground.
On the other hand, traces of blood vessels in these bones indicate that these lizards grow up “jerks”, which was not typical for later sauropods and all the other dinosaurs didn’t go on straight legs, and squatting. Scientists believe that such an unusual style of bone growth helped Ingentia prima quickly reach a maximum size and become invulnerable to predators.All this, according to Apalette, says that the first giant dinosaurs appeared on Earth at least 30 million years earlier than paleontologists believed in the past. Moreover, scientists do not exclude that “the era of giants” could have started even earlier, as nessesary, the closest relatives of Ingentia prima appeared 215 million years ago.