Carnegie Museum scientist helps unearth new dinosaur
January 18, 2016 10:06 PM
Research team leader Bernardo González Riga stands with the complete right humerus (upper arm bone) of the type specimen of the new titanosaur Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi.
Taylor Maggiacomo/Carnegie Museum of Natural History/Carnegie Mellon University
A life reconstruction of the gigantic new titanosaurian dinosaur species Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi.
Brian Harkin/The New York Times
A section of the neck is rolled into a freight elevator during installation of a titanosaur at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Jan. 5.
By Madasyn Czebiniak / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Carnegie scientist was part of a research team that unearthed a new dinosaur in Argentina, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History said.
The dinosaur, Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi, was discovered in southern Mendoza Province by Bernardo González Riga, museum officials said. Members of his research team included the museum’s Matt Lamanna and three other Argentine paleontologists.
The discovery provides key information about the hind foot of titanosaurs, a type of sauropod, the release said. Sauropods are huge, long-necked and long-tailed herbivores. Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi is the first of these creatures that has an entirely known hind foot skeleton.
“Giant titanosaurs were the heaviest terrestrial creatures that ever lived,” Mr. González Riga said. “But the hind feet of these dinosaurs — which are critical for understanding how they stood and moved — were not completely known until now. Now we have new evidence that helps to solve this mystery.”
The titanosaur is thought to be one of the largest of its kind, the release said. Its humerus is 1.76 meters, which is longer than that of any other known titanosaur upper arm bone. It is estimated to have been around 82 to 92 feet long and may have weighed 44 to 66 short tons.
The dinosaur was named for its gigantic size and discovery location and in honor of a Mendoza-based lawyer who has contributed to the region's paleontological heritage, the release said. Notocolossus translates to “southern giant.”
“Now that we have the whole foot of a giant titanosaur, we can learn more about how these dinosaurs were able to carry more weight around than any other land animal in the history of life,” Mr. González Riga said in a statement. “Argentina was truly the land of giants during the Cretaceous – and Notocolossus gives us new evidence on how these giants got so big.”
Editor’s note, Jan. 19: An earlier version of the story incorrectly referred to Bernando González Riga, his last name reference should be Mr. González Riga.
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