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Two New Species Of Massive Sauropod Dinosaur Discovered In China

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 13 Aug 2021 15:49
Two New Species Of Massive Sauropod Dinosaur Discovered In ChinaJames St. John/Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)/Universal Pictures

Two new species of massive sauropod dinosaurs have been discovered in China. 

Fossils from three different dinosaurs were recently uncovered in the Turpan-Hami Basin in northwest China.

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In what is a first for the nation, scientists have subsequently discovered two new species of sauropods.

The study, published on Thursday, August 12, in Nature Scientific Reports, detailed how the fossils uncovered dated back to the Early Cretaceous period, which occurred around 130 to 120 millions years ago.

The scientists went on to say how dinosaur fossils have never been reported there before.

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The first specimen found of the new species of sauropod is called Silutitan sinensis, which was a herbivore and is characterised by its very long tail, neck, large body but small head.

The first new species of sauropod that was found appeared to have some characteristics in its neck vertebrae that indicate that it belonged to a family of sauropods called Euhelopodidae. This family of sauropods has only been found in East Asia so far, and scientists think that the sauropod was measured at more than 65 feet long.

The second of the specimens found in northwest China was Hamititan xinjiangensis. It is estimated at being more than 55 feet long. This specimen’s characteristics were more similar to sauropods that have been previously found in South America, according to researchers.

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The second specimen’s vertebrae points to it belonging to a family of sauropods known as Titanosaurs. This family of sauropods were heavily found in both South America and Asia.

The third specimen found in the Turpan-Hami Basin was limited, and only had four vertebrae and rib fragments. Scientists have speculated that it could be a somphospondylan sauropod, a group of dinosaurs that lived from around 160.3 million years ago to 66 million years ago. This, according to the study, spans from the late Jurassic period to the Cretaceous period.

Alexander Kellner, Brazilian paleontologist, co-author of the study and director of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, told ABC News how excited he was to have taken part in the new discovery.

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He explained: 

We were very excited about that part of the study, and now it’s kind of a puzzle that we have to understand.

How did this almost ‘South American’ dinosaur end up being in Asia?

Kellner went on to say how the scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing is planning to continue their research and digging to work out why this discovery was possible.

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The researchers believe that underneath the surface of the region, there may be hidden nests filled with eggs and embryonic remains, Kellner said.

Kellner concludes that he and his team are ‘dreaming about finding dinosaur nests there’. He said that this discovery is their ‘greatest hope’ to date.

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Topics: News, China, Dinosaur

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ABC News
  1. ABC News

    2 new species of massive sauropod dinosaurs found in China, a 1st for the region