Scientists have found in Argentina giant dinosaur first

Cecilia Apaldetti and colleagues investigate the bones More

The dinosaur - named Ingentia prima, meaning "the first giant" - was up to 33ft long and weighed about 10 tons, living about 210 million years ago during the Triassic Period.

We used to think that the first giant dinosaurs arose in the early part of the Jurassic Period, after supervolcanoes caused a global extinction at the end of the Triassic. The newly discovered fossils make revelations about the evolving of the giant ones many million years ago than thought of.

Baldetti, and her colleagues found that this was not the case, studying the remains of a unique dinosaur that her team found in the Central part of Argentina, in the province of San Juan. This way of growing was widespread amongst the dinosaurs of that era, but excluding Ingentia prima, no other species reached more than three meters in length while weighting around 1.8 tones. The dinosaur dates back to the Triassic, about 47 million years before the iconic long-necked plant-eaters Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus appeared on the scene. Cyclic growth was common in the dinosaurs of that period, but they usually stopped growing until they reached nearly 1.8 tons in weight and 3 meters in length. Ingentia prima, which can be translated as "first giant", grew cyclically, having stretches of time with fast growth and similar periods of time when it wouldn't grow at all.


The dinosaur had an elongated neck and tail, and about 10m long. These eventually evolved into the four-legged creatures that became the largest animals that ever walked the land. Together, these dinosaurs belong to a sauropod subgroup known as the lessemsaurids, which lived between 237 and 201 million years ago (relatively soon after dinosaurs first appeared) in what is now Argentina but was then the southeast corner of the supercontinent Pangaea. What's more, I. prima had a bird-like cervical air sac and a neck with a high surface-to-volume ratio - characteristics that functioned like a built-in air conditioning system, allowing this oversized animal to stay cool.

The paleontologist Diego Pol at the Egidio Feruglio Museum in Argentina said that the discovery "gives a new look at the magnitude of the evolutionary explosion that the dinosaurs had".

Scientists also suggested that there might be even bigger and stranger dinosaurs to be discovered. Later sauropodomorphs would grow at a steady rate. "This strategy was not used again in the history of dinosaurs".

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