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Paleontology

Long-necked dinosaur fossil found by Argentine scientists is one of biggest ever

Long-necked dinosaur fossil found by Argentine scientists is one of biggest ever
Argentinian paleontologists Agustin Martinelli (R) and Jonatan Kaluza work on a plaster jacket around a vertebrate dinosaur of the sauropsida family part of a fossil outcrop in the Valley of Las Chinas, in the Chilean Patagonia, Chile, 24 February 2020. EPA-EFE/FELIPE TRUEBA

BUENOS AIRES, May 18 (Reuters) - Argentine paleontologists have discovered the remains of a gigantic new species of long-necked herbivorous dinosaur in the country's southern Patagonia region, saying the beast ranks as one of the largest ever discovered.

The find in the Pueblo Blanco Nature Reserve, presented on Thursday, was first discovered by scientists in 2018. The dinosaur’s bones were so big they caused the van carrying them to a Buenos Aires laboratory to tip over, though no one was injured and the remains were left intact.

Paleontologist Nicolas Chimento said scientists decided to name the dinosaur “Chucarosaurus Diripienda”, meaning hard-boiled and scrambled, because it had rolled around and survived the accident.

At 50 tonnes and 30 meters in length, the Chucarosaurus is the largest-ever dinosaur discovered in the mountainous Rio Negro province. It would have lived in the Late Cretaceous period alongside predators, fish and sea turtles.

The Chucarosaurus’ femur bone, which spanned 1.90 meters, was split into three parts, each weighing over 100 kilograms and requiring at least three people to lift it up, scientists said.

Patagonia was home to the world’s largest plant-eating dinosaurs such as the colossal Patagotitan mayorum, the biggest dinosaur ever discovered, though scientists still do not know why species there grew so fast and in some cases never stopped growing throughout their lives.

Paleontologist Matias Motta said that while the Chucarosaurus, a sauropod, rivaled other Patagonian giants in size and weight, characteristics in its hips, forelimbs and hindlimbs suggested it was more slender and graceful.

Some 140 dinosaur species have been discovered in Argentina, which ranks among the world’s top three countries for research and discoveries alongside China and the United States.

The studies were carried out by researchers from the Bernardino Rivadavia Museum of Natural Sciences, the Azara Foundation and national research council Conicet with support from the National Geographic Society.

By Lucila Sigal

(Reporting by Lucila Sigal; Writing by Sarah Morland; Editing by David Gregorio)

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