Archaeology / Cultural Heritage

[Archaeology] [twocolumns]

Anthropology / Human Evolution

[Anthropology] [twocolumns]

Palaeontology / Earth Sciences

[Palaeontology] [twocolumns]

Evolution / Genetics

[Evolution][twocolumns]

Newly discovered titanosaurian dinosaur from Argentina, Sarmientosaurus


Scientists have discovered Sarmientosaurus musacchioi, a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur, based on an complete skull and partial neck fossil unearthed in Patagonia, Argentina, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ruben Martinez from the Laboratorio de Paleovertebrados of the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco (UNPSJB), Argentina, and colleagues.

Newly discovered titanosaurian dinosaur from Argentina, Sarmientosaurus
Digital rendering of the skull of Sarmientosaurus 
[Credit: WitmerLab/Ohio University]
Titanosaurs, a type of sauropod, ranged in size from the weight of a cow to that of the largest sperm whale. These plant-eaters have long necks and tails and may have been the most common large herbivores in the Southern Hemisphere landmasses during the Cretaceous.

Newly discovered titanosaurian dinosaur from Argentina, Sarmientosaurus
Digital renderings of the skull and reconstructed brain endocast and eye 
of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species Sarmientosaurus musacchioi. At left is
 the skull rendered semi-transparent in left side view, showing the relative size and
 position of the brain endocast (in blue, pink, yellow, and red) and the inferred
 habitual head posture. At center is the isolated brain endocast in left side view, 
and at right is a left/front view of the skull showing the reconstructed eyeball 
and its associated musculature. Scale bar equals five centimeters 
[Credit: WitmerLab, Ohio University]
Despite their abundance, the skulls of these animals, critical to deciphering certain aspects of their biology, are exceedingly rare. Of the 60-plus named titanosaurs, only four are represented by nearly complete or semi-complete skulls. Using computerized tomography (CT) imaging, the authors of this study closely examined well-preserved, anatomically 'primitive' skull and neck fossils from Sarmientosaurus.

Newly discovered titanosaurian dinosaur from Argentina, Sarmientosaurus
Life reconstruction of two individuals of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species
 Sarmientosaurus musacchioi in their ~95 million-year-old habitat in southern 
Chubut Province, central Patagonia, Argentina, with a digital rendering of the skull
 in the same position as the head of the foreground individual [Credit: Mark A. Klingler, 
Carnegie Museum of Natural History and WitmerLab, Ohio University]
The researchers found that the Sarmientosaurus brain was small relative to its enormous body, typical of sauropods. However, they also found evidence of greater sensory capabilities than most other sauropods. They suggest that Sarmientosaurus had large eyeballs and good vision, and that the inner ear may have been better tuned for hearing low-frequency airborne sounds compared to other titanosaurs.

Newly discovered titanosaurian dinosaur from Argentina, Sarmientosaurus
Dr. Ruben Martinez (R), from the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco, 
and Dr. Matt Lamanna from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, pose with the 
skull and neck bones of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species Sarmientosaurus
 musacchioi in this undated picture [Credit: Matt Lamanna]
Moreover, the balance organ of the inner ear indicates that this dinosaur may have habitually held its head with the snout facing downward, possibly to feed primarily on low-growing plants. "Discoveries like Sarmientosaurus happen once in a lifetime," says study leader Ruben Martinez. "That's why we studied the fossils so thoroughly, to learn as much about this amazing animal as we could."

Sarmientosaurus musacchioi is named for the town of Sarmiento in Chubut Province, which is close to the discovery site. The species name also honors the late Dr. Eduardo Musacchio, a paleontologist and professor at the UNPSJB and friend to Dr. Martinez and other team members.

Source: PLOS [April 27, 2016]
TANN

Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

No comments :


Exhibitions / Travel

[Exhibitions] [bsummary]

Natural Heritage / Environment / Wildlife

[Natural Heritage] [list]

Astronomy / Astrobiology / Space Exploration

[Universe] [list]