Researchers Announce Discovery of Oldest Giant Dinosaur Species

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Scientists in Argentina have announced the discovery of Ingentia prima, the first giant dinosaur that inhabited Earth over 200 million years ago.

The new species found at the Balde de Leyes deposit, southeast of the province of San Juan, is more than three times the size of the largest Triassic dinosaurs known to date.

As described researchers, dinosaurs were not always large – their evolutionary took millions of years for some species to double the weight of a current elephant and reach between eight and ten meters in length. However, it appears those years were much less than previously believed, as the discovery of Ingentia prima – which would have weighed in at approximately ten tons – has revealed.

Video report by Agencia CTyS-UNLaM:

In a statement to Agencia CTyS-UNLaM, Dr. Cecilia Apaldetti, researcher at the Institute and Museum of Natural Sciences of the University of San Juan (IMCN) and CONICET, described this new species as showing a “strategy of growth unknown until now”, indicating that the origin of gigantism came much earlier than previously thought.

Artist’s rendition of Ingentia prima at-scale

“Before this discovery, gigantism was considered to have emerged during the Jurassic period, approximately 180 million years ago,” said Apaldetti. “But Ingentia prima lived at the end of the Triassic, between 210 and 205 million years ago.”

Paleontologist Ricardo Martinez, co-author of the publication and also researcher at IMCN, commented, “the name of this new species, ‘Ingentia’, refers to its colossal size, while ‘prima’ indicates that it is the first known giant to today on the Planet”.

“Giant, above all, for his moment in evolution,” added Apaldetti. “We see in Ingentia prima the origin of gigantism, the first steps so that, more than 100 million years later, sauropods of up to 70 tons could come into existence like those that lived in Patagonia.”

Details about the discovery have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

For more information, check out this Agencia CTyS-UNLaM article.

Video and images source: Agencia CTyS-UNLaM