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New Dinosaur Species Found in Brazilian Backcountry

07/25/2016 - 10h40

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GIULIANA MIRANDA
CONTRIBUTOR FOR FOLHA

The region of Sousa, in the backcountry of the Brazilian state of Paraíba, is home to a famous park called Dinosaur Valley, which attracts researchers and tourists from all over the world due to the abundance of dinosaurs that have been discovered there.

Now, however, paleontologists have found another trace of these prehistoric northeasterners; fossilized fibula fragments (calf bone) that point at a new species of titanosaur - a herbivore famous for its long neck - that inhabited the area 136 million years ago.

The discovery, led by UPFE (Federal University of Pernambuco) paleontologist Aline Ghilardi, is significant for two reasons: it represents the first successful identification of the large reptiles that inhabited the region and it is also the oldest dinosaur from the Cretaceous period (between 145 and 66 million years back) to be identified in Brazil.

Through a comparative study of the found materials, researchers concluded that it is a unique species. The bone fragments that were recovered, however, do not provide enough information to formally describe the species.

Scientists predict that the animal measured 1.6 meters in height and could not be more than 5.70 meters wide. That is to say, he was not one of the largest. A histological analysis, however, showed that the bone belonged to a young individual, who died before reaching full development.

The fossil identification was only made possible thanks to the dedicated observations of one local resident in Sousa, Luiz Carlos Gomes, who spotted the bone amid rocks and sediment and decided to take a photo.

The image, shared on the internet, reached a group of paleontologists, who quickly perceived the potential of the found fragments.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

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