Big news from the Earth Sciences Museum in Rio de Janeiro, where scientists claim to have found the remains of the largest Brazilian dinosaur. In truth, the fossils were basically rediscovered, after lying in the museum storage room for about 60 years.
The dinosaur bones were first discovered in the 1950s, near the city of Presidente Prudente, São Paolo state. The find was managed by renowned Brazilian paleontologist Llewellyn Ivor Prince.
Unfortunately, money and time were always the issue when it came to Brazilian paleontology. With so many fossils to work on, Prince was not able to properly study his discovery. Llewellyn Ivor Prince died in 1980.
Earth Sciences Museum director, Diogenes de Almeida Campos, always knew that the fossils lying in the museum storage room belonged to a very large animal. Just one of the vertebrae is roughly the size of a microwave oven.
But funding had always been an issue. During all this time, Campos and his team tried to set up a laboratory and enlist the help of the students to start working on the research.
It was indeed a student, by the name of Kamila Bandeira who approached the few fossils for study. She chose the elusive dinosaur as the subject for her doctoral thesis. Finally, after four years, the study concluded that the bones indeed belonged to the largest Brazilian dinosaur ever found.
The huge animal was given the name Austroposeidon magnificus. A herbivore, it belonged to the Titanosaur group of sauropod dinosaurs. Like his cousins, he had a small head, long neck, large body, and long tail. It was about 20 feet tall, and roamed the Earth about 70 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period.
On display are only a few of the dinosaur’s large bones, because this is how many were actually discovered. It may be another reason why identifying them took so long.
“[Dinosaur hunting] is an activity you can compare to art,” said director Diogenes de Almeida Campos.
He went further to explain that when such a large dinosaur would die or be killed, it would lead to a feeding frenzy among his fellows. Everything from the skull to the spine would be smashed, not even the bone marrow being safe from predators of all species, including insects.
Campos warns that there may be many more fossils left to discover on Brazil’s territory.
Image source: Flickr