They can grow these long-necked dinosaurs the length of the three school buses and the ground that were so heavy that they had to tremble as they walked.
This family of dinosaurs, however, was not always so huge. In the first 50 million years of the history of evolution, sauropods were much more diverse. Although some were quite large, about 10 feet long, the family also included animals that were lighter than a goat. What’s more, some sauropods walked on two legs and others used four.
Fossil finds from South American Patagonia they have reported this mystery. A team of paleontologists has found one of the largest known sauropods and found fossil plants in the surrounding rock layers. dinosaur fossils provide evidence of the climate and ecosystem in which new dinosaur species have recently been identified. Scientists named the Bagual Gorge Bagualia alba, where the dinosaur fossil was found, and alba, which means “dawn” in Spanish, because of its small age.
New research has suggested that the large size of the sauropod responded to climate change 180 million years ago in the early Jurassic. This evolutionary transformation was caused by massive volcanic eruptions in the Southern Hemisphere, which led to a change in the flora that formed the sauropod diet of plant-eating.
“Lava flows were (were) spread over thousands of square miles. It’s bigger than anything we’ve seen in human times. Large amounts of CO2 and methane were released into the atmosphere and it’s a well-studied climate. On a global scale,” said Diego Pol , Principal investigator of the Egidio Feruglio Paleontology Museum in Argentina via email to CNN.
“But we didn’t know what the impact of this global crisis was on terrestrial ecosystems. We lacked our knowledge because dinosaurs and plants of the same age are very rare in sediments.”
As a result of the change in diet, many groups of sauropods became extinct and only one lineage survived – the large sauropods known as eusauropods. The Bagualia alba was probably 10 tons – the size of two African elephants – but later the sauropods were 40 meters long and weighed 70 tons.
In particular, the change in vegetation in harsher climates was the extinction of most sauropods. Tall coniferous trees dominated the warmer, drier environment. These trees replaced the abundant vegetation of the humid environments before the volcanic upheaval. Fossils from this environment show ferns with fronds over 6 feet high.
“The only survivors of this crisis were the eusauropods. They have long been considered packaged food, with teeth and jaws capable of cutting and devouring all kinds of plants including conifers.
“We also found that the enamel of Bagualia’s teeth was 7 times thicker than that of other extinct herbivores. This allowed them to feed on hard coriander leaves from conifers,” Pol said. the dinosaur.
In fact, the large digestive chambers needed to deal with this type of vegetation were probably the reason these animals achieved this enormous size.
And long necks? Pol said they would allow them to reach tall conifers and allow them to access different plants without moving their giant bodies.
“Their large bodies required them to eat a lot of food to meet their energy needs. But if you’re big and heavy and you have to move a lot to get the food you need, you’re wasting quite a bit of energy (and then they need more food),” he said.
Giant animals generate a lot of body heat and other research has suggested that long necks can dissipate body heat – similar to the big ears of modern elephants, Pol explained.
The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B on Tuesday.