Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ancestor of biggest dinosaurs: First dinosaur discovered in Spain dates back 15 million years earlier than thought

Date:
March 12, 2012
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
The dinosaur Aragosaurus ischiaticus, discovered 25 years ago in Teruel, is from 15 million years earlier than originally thought. Its new dating means that it was the ancestor of the Titanosauriforms, which includes the biggest dinosaurs.

Aragosaurus is the oldest of its kind and could even be a common ancestor.
Credit: Grupo Aragosaurus-IUCA

A research group from Aragon, that has the same name as the first Aragosaurus ischiaticus dinosaur discovered 25 years ago in Teruel, reveals that it lived 15 million years earlier than originally believed. Its new dating means that it was the ancestor of the Titanosauriforms, which includes the biggest dinosaurs.

Related Articles


The Aragosaurus was the first sauropod dinosaur described in Spain some 25 years ago in Galve (Teruel), but its age was never clear. The new dating would make it the only dinosaur of the Hauterivian age (between 136 and 130 million years ago) to be found in Spain.

"This is the only dinosaur of this period found in Spain and is also the most intact in Europe. It can be categorised amongst the well known sauropods of the Jurassic-Cretaceous transition (135 million years ago), the most abundant species during the Barremian age (116 million years ago). As this group has been studied the least, the Aragosaurus fills the gap," explains José Ignacio Canudo, lead author of the study and researcher in the University of Zaragoza's Aragosaurus-IUCA Group, which stands for the Aragon Research Institute of Environmental Sciences.

Its new age means that Aragosaurus fills in the transitional period between the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, of which there is little record in the world. Canudo points out that, "Aragosaurus would have therefore been a primitive ancestor of the titanosauraus sauropods that would later dominate Europe and Asia during the Late Cretaceous Period."

Published in Geological Magazine, the study shows that Aragosaurus, found by José Luis Sanz and his team in 1987, is the oldest of its kind ever found and it could even be a common ancestor. The researcher said that, "the group could have originated in Europe, or even in Iberia, but there is still a lot more to be found out."

The new finding also reveals that in the Early Cretaceous Period (135 million years ago), what we now know as the European Continent was made up of a series of large islands that could have been, "the point of origin for many vertebrate groups including sauropod dinosaurs like the Basal Titanosauriform."

Fossil dating: An "almost" impossible mission

In order to situate the dinosaurs on their corresponding branch of the evolutionary tree, their remains require dating. In some cases though, this is lacking. Dating dinosaur remains can be problematic due the little information available on the age of the sediments where the fossils lie.

In relation to Aragosaurus ischiaticus "there are some lagoons that allude to its stratigraphic position," outlines Candudo, adding that dating "can often be complicated due to imprecision in continental scales." For this reason, the age of some dinosaur species can vary "even by tens of millions of years," assures the geologist.

The research group carried out their detailed geological field work to find the remains in the lower part of the Castellar Formation site in Teruel. As the lower part is "not as rich" in fossils compared to the upper part, the only Aragosaurus remains that could be dated were a pollen fossil assemblage.

In Canudo's opinion, specifying the age of dinosaurs is "fundamental" in determining the paleobiogeography and evolution of these beings. As the scientist concludes, "incorrect aging provides the wrong results when determining the correlation between continents."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. I. Canudo, J. M. Gasca, M. Moreno-Azanza, M. Aurell. New information about the stratigraphic position and age of the sauropod Aragosaurus ischiaticus from the Early Cretaceous of the Iberian Peninsula. Geological Magazine, 2011; 149 (02): 252 DOI: 10.1017/S0016756811000732

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Ancestor of biggest dinosaurs: First dinosaur discovered in Spain dates back 15 million years earlier than thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312102002.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2012, March 12). Ancestor of biggest dinosaurs: First dinosaur discovered in Spain dates back 15 million years earlier than thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312102002.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Ancestor of biggest dinosaurs: First dinosaur discovered in Spain dates back 15 million years earlier than thought." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312102002.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins