Di­nosaur dis­cov­ery the ‘ miss­ing link’

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

FOS­SILS of a re­cently dis­cov­ered di­nosaur species in Ar­gentina are be­lieved to be a ‘‘ miss­ing link’’ in the evo­lu­tion of the long-necked gi­ants that roamed the earth mil­lions of years ago.

Long-neck, long-tail planteaters like Di­plodocus, Bron­tomerus and Bra­chiosaurus – the largest land crea­tures ever to walk on earth – are di­nosaurs known as sauropods. They lived some 170 mil­lion years ago. Paleontologists see the re­cently dis- cov­ered Leon­erasaurus Ta­que­tran­sis as the con­nec­tion be­tween the smaller prosauropods – also known as near-sauropods – like Sel­losaurus and Pla­teo - saurus from the Tri­as­sic pe­riod ( 248-205 mil­lion years ago) to their much larger de­scen­dants, the sauropods.

‘‘ Leon­erasaurus lived some 10 mil­lion years be­fore the sauropods and mea­sured a mere three me­tres long,’’ Diego Pol of t he Egidio Feruglio Mu­seum of Pa­leon- tol­ogy said. ‘‘ The im­por­tance of this find is that it is a new species.

‘‘ Leon­erasaurus is a very prim­i­tive species... that helps us un­der­stand the evo­lu­tion­ary tree of the gi­ants that ap­peared later.’’

He said he made the find along with a ge­ol­o­gist and a stu­dent in the south­ern Patag­o­nian moun­tains of Ta­que­tran at a site with fos­sil re­mains from the Juras­sic pe­riod ( 206-144 mil­lion years ago).

FIND: A replica of the fos­sil of a Leon­erasaurus Ta­que­tran­sis

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