Dinosaur discovery the ‘ missing link’
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