A bone of a newly discovered Diplodocus-like dinosaur, called Dzharatitanis kingi, has been unearthed in Uzbekistan and is approximately 90 million years in age. What’s so incredible about this new species was that it was the first rebbachisaurid (a type of sauropod that was missing a specific ridge on its vertebrae) that’s ever been found in Asia. And it was believed to have been a cousin of Diplodocus.
It was Hans-Dieter Sues from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and Alexander Averianov from the Russian Academy of Sciences who discovered the fossil. They found just one tail bone at the Bissekty Formation (a part of the Kyzyl Kum Desert in Uzbekistan).
Analysis of the bone revealed that it was a type of sauropod which would mean that it had an extremely long slim neck, a small head, large body, gigantic legs, and a long tail. Additionally, it would have had long, sharp teeth that would have helped the herbivore to munch on trees. Based on the bone size, it is believed that it would have reached heights of between 15 and 20 meters (49 to 66 feet). Since it is thought to be around 90 million years old, it is actually one of the most recent rebbachisaurid remains that have been found so far.
This new discovery suggests that there may have been a significant number of these types of dinosaurs in Asia and other parts of the planet during that time. Before this discovery, rebbachisaurid dinosaurs were only known to have lived in North America, North Africa, and Europe. This adds more to the story of which locations these dinosaurs inhabited during the Cretaceous Period. (A picture of what the Dzharatitanis kingi would have looked like can be seen here.)
Paul Barrett from the Natural History Museum in London stated, “We find new dinosaurs all the time, but this particular dinosaur represents a group that we’ve not found any evidence for in central Asia before.” “So, it gives some new insight into how widely distributed this particular dinosaur group was.”
Sues noted, “We’re still trying to put together how animals got distributed during the Cretaceous period because Europe at the time was basically a series of large and small islands and then you have this sort of huge land mass of Asia in the east and that landmass was connected to North America.” He added that Asia might have possibly been a central location for dinosaurs to travel across the globe.
The study was published in the journal PLOS One where it can be read in full.