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'Giant dino' found in Argentina

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Scientists think they have found a new species of giant plant-eating dinosaur, Futalognkosaurus dukei, that roamed the Earth some 80m years ago.

It would have measured at least 32m (105ft) in length, making it one of the biggest dinosaurs ever found, Argentine and Brazilian palaeontologists say.

The skeleton showed signs that its owner had been eaten by predators.

The excavation site in Argentina has yielded a series of specimens since the first fossils were found there in 2000.


The plant-eater's skeleton came complete with fossilised leaves.

The skeleton found in Patagonia appears to represent a previously unknown species because of the unique structure of its neck.

Its name (pronounced foo-ta-long-koh-sohr-us) derives from the Mapuche Indian words for "giant chief of the lizards" and for Duke Energy Argentina, a company which helped fund its excavation.

'Something fantastic'

"This is one of the biggest [dinosaurs] in the world and one of the most complete of these giants that exist," said Jorge Calvo, director of the palaeontology centre at the National University of Comahue, Argentina.


Patagonia is rich in remains like this exposed dino spine.

He is lead author of a study on the dinosaur published in the peer-reviewed Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

The dinosaur's remains are thought to have washed into a river, creating a barrier that collected the remains of other now-fossilised animals, fish and even leaves found at the site.

Since the first bones were found on the banks of Lake Barreales in the Argentine province of Neuquen in 2000, palaeontologists have dug up the dinosaur's neck, back region, hips and the first vertebra of its tail.

"It's among the biggest dinosaur finds and the most complete for a giant dinosaur," Alexander Kellner, a researcher with the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, told Reuters news agency.

"The accumulation of fish and leaf fossils, as well as other dinosaurs around the find, is just something fantastic. Leaves and dinosaurs together is a great rarity. It's like a whole lost world for us."

Researchers say the fossilised ecosystem points to a warm and humid climate in Patagonia, which had forests during the Late Cretaceous period.

The area is steppe-like now and almost bare of vegetation


Late Cretaceous beast: The remains are simply huge.

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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I don't think my wife would let me keep him in the garage. X'D

Understand this lad, fate is a fickle lady. Work with the hand you're dealt and you may just be able to run your flag up the pole. Don't, and well, you may just find your mast cut down.

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It is wonderful that scientists are still discovering extinct animals. There are a huge diversity of animals and I wonder if we will ever come to discover even half of the creatures that once roamed this earth.


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