100-million-year-old fossils have been found in the Indian state of Meghalaya and are believed to have belonged to sauropod dinosaurs. Researchers from the Geological Survey of India’s (GSI) Palaeontology division found the bones in the West Khasi Hills District.
The experts are confident that the fossils belonged to sauropod dinosaurs with a Titanosaurian origin. If they are correct, this would be first proof that these types of dinosaurs inhabited that area and the fifth Indian state to have found evidence of sauropod bones with a Titanosaurian origin. Sauropods have smaller heads, long necks, long tails, and big pillar-like legs.
Over twenty-five fragmentary bones, all ranging in size, were found together. These included part of a limb bone, an incomplete chevron of caudal vertebrae, and a cervical vertebra. Since they were poorly preserved and mostly incomplete fragments, it has been very difficult to analyze them and more research needs to be conducted in order to positively identify the remains. (A picture of the bones can be seen here.)
In other dinosaur news, the remains of a very young dinosaur were found in Yunnan Province in the southwestern part of China that belonged to an unknown genus and species. The bones, which included a portion of the skull, a complete cervical vertebra, dorsal vertebra, and metacarpal bone, revealed that the juvenile dinosaur – believed to have been about three years old when it died – was about 1.7 meters in length (5.6 feet).
This newly discovered herbivore used its leaf-shaped teeth to feed on cypress and pine trees. In an interview with the Global Times, Bi Shundong, who is a professor at the Center for Vertebrate Evolutionary Biology, described the creature, “The shape of the dinosaur is different from known species around the world and should belong to a new species.” (Pictures of the bones can be seen here.)
Another ancient species story is about an ichthyosaur. Paleontologists who were analyzing ancient bones in museums in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany, have revealed five more specimens belonging to a 240-million-year-old ichthyosaur named Besanosaurus leptorhynchus. This is pretty significant news as there had only been one fossil previously found of the species.
Italian, Swiss, Dutch, and Polish paleontologists shared new information regarding the ancient fish-like reptile with an exceptionally narrow and long mouth. One example was its size – adults grew as large as 8 meters (26 feet).
Gabriele Bindellini from the Earth Science Deptartment of Milan University provided more information, “The extremely long and slender rostrum suggests that Besanosaurus primarily fed on small and elusive prey, feeding lower in the food web than an apex predator: a novel ecological specialization never reported before this epoch of the Triassic in a large diapsid reptile. This might have triggered an increase of body size and lowered competition among the diverse ichthyosaurs that co-existed in this part of the Tethys Ocean.”
Pictures of a Besanosaurus leptorhynchus can be seen here.