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“Most complete” giant dino, a new species, reported found

Oct. 15, 2007
Staff and wire reports

Pa­le­on­tol­ogists have unearthed what they say is a new di­no­saur spe­cies that is among the larg­est and most com­plete such fos­sils known.

The 105-foot (32-meter) plant eat­er has been dubbed Fu­ta­log­nko­saur­us du­kei, af­ter the Ma­puche In­di­an words for “gi­ant” and “chief,” and for Duke En­er­gy Ar­gen­ti­na, which helped fund the dig.

Some bones of Fu­ta­logn­ko­saur­us du­kei, in a pro­tec­tive plas­ter cas­ing. (Cour­tesy Aca­demis Bra­si­leira de Cien­cias)


It’s one of the three big­gest di­no­saurs yet found, Ar­gen­tine pa­le­on­tol­o­gist Juan Por­firi said at a news con­fer­ence in Ri­o de Ja­nei­ro, Bra­zil on Mon­day. He added that the fos­sil was 70 per­cent pre­served, com­pared to about 10 per­cent for oth­er gi­ant di­no­saur finds.

“It’s a new spe­cies, it’s a new group,” rep­re­sent­ing a new line­age of ti­tan­o­saurs with bulky necks, he said. “Its neck was very big in di­am­e­ter, strong and huge.” The gi­ant is es­ti­mat­ed to have lived 88 mil­lion years ago, dur­ing the late Cre­ta­ceous era.

The first bones were found on the banks of Lake Bar­reales in the Ar­gen­tine prov­ince of Neuquen in 2000. Pa­le­on­tol­o­gists have since dug up the an­i­mal’s neck, back ar­ea, hips and part of the tail.

The site where Fu­ta­lognkosaurus was found has of­fered a bo­nan­za to pa­le­on­tol­o­gists, yield­ing more than 1,000 spec­i­mens, 300 teeth and seve­ral oth­er di­no­saurs’ re­mains, sci­en­tists said. Fos­sil­ized re­mains of an ec­o­sys­tem from the same pe­ri­od, in­clud­ing well-pre­served leaves and fish, were al­so re­ported un­earthed. The finds are de­scribed in the lat­est is­sue of the An­nals of the Bra­zil­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences.

Pata­gonia, the re­gion of the new finds in south­ern South Amer­i­ca, was al­so home to the oth­er two larg­est di­no­saur skele­tons known: Ar­genti­no­saur­us, about 115 feet (35 meters) long, and Puer­ta­saur­us reu­ili, 115 to 131 feet (35 to 40 meters) long.


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Paleontologists have uncovered what they is a new dinosaur species that is among the largest and most complete such fossils known. The 105-foot (32-meter) plant eater was dubbed Futalognkosaurus dukei, after the Mapuche Indian words for “giant” and “chief,” and for Duke Energy Argentina, which helped fund the skeleton’s excavation. It’s one of the three biggest dinosaurs yet found, Argentine paleontologist Juan said at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. He added that the fossil was 70 percent preserved, compared to about 10 percent for other giant dinosaur finds in the world. “It’s a new species, it’s a new group,” representing a new lineage of titanosaurs with bulky necks, he said. “Its neck was very big in diameter, strong and huge.” The giant is estimated to have lived 88 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous era. The first bones were found on the banks of Lake Barreales in the Argentine province of Neuquen in 2000. Paleontologists have since dug up the animal’s neck, back area, hips and part of the tail. The site where Futalognkosaurus was found has offered a bonanza to paleontologists, yielding more than 1,000 specimens, 300 teeth and several other dinosaurs’ remains, scientists added. Fossilized remains of an ecosystem from the same period, including well-preserved leaves and fish, were also reported unearthed. The finds are described in the latest issue of the Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. Patagonia, the region of the dinosaur finds in southern South America, was also home to the other two largest dinosaur skeletons found to date: Argentinosaurus, about 115 feet long, and Puertasaurus reuili, 115 feet to 131 feet long.