Fragments of long-bodied dino found in Argentina

A new sauropod, Leinkupal laticauda, a relative of Diplodocus longus (shown), is the first of the diplodocid family identified in South America. Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Fossils of a new species of long-necked, long-tailed dinosaur have been found in Argentina. Named Leinkupal laticauda, the  diplodocid sauropod belongs to a family of dinosaurs that were among the longest creatures to walk on Earth. L. laticauda represents the first of this kind of sauropod found in South America and the youngest identified to date.

Based on the rock where the fossils were found, scientists estimate that L. laticauda survived into the early Cretaceous period, which began about 145 million years ago. The discovery contradicts previous fossil evidence that suggests that diplodocid sauropods were wiped out during a mass extinction at the boundary of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. L. laticauda‘s fossils show that the extinction was not a global event, researchers report May 14 in PLOS ONE.

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Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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