Researchers from TSU, Saint Petersburg State University, and the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have identified a new taxon in the family titanozavrid, four-legged herbivorous dinosaurs. The remains of this giant animal were found in Shestakovo village (Kemerovo Region) in 2008. In a comparative analysis, it was found that the titanosaur found by TSU paleontologists has structural features that distinguish it from all other members of this group.
- Initially, it was clear only that the remains in front of us belonged to a very large herbivorous dinosaur, - says Stepan Ivantsov, employee of the Laboratory of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Continental Ecosystems. - Because the unique pieces were in blocks of sandstone, we spent several years on removing them from the cemented rock. With scientists from the Zoological Institute of the RAS, we conducted a comparative analysis of the remnants with titanosaurs found in other countries.
As a result, it was found that the herbivorous dinosaurs that inhabited the territory of modern Western Siberia in the Early Cretaceous period (about 100 million years ago) belong to the suborder sauropod, but represent a new species. Their length was about 20 meters and weight about 50 tons. The new dinosaur is different from others in its structural features. It has sacral ribs arranged in a star shape and converging toward the center, and there is no articulation of the vertebra in the neural arch. Ancient dinosaurs with such a skeletal structure had not yet been found in any country in the world.
Currently TSU scientists are finishing work on the description of their findings, the result of which will be giving a Latin name to the open taxon. Now paleontologists are collecting available fragments of dinosaur. The largest bones, which had once been the sacrum of a titanosaur, are already connected. In addition, part of a blade and the cervical vertebrae have been assembled from multiple pieces. The foot of a sauropod that was discovered in 1995 is also stored in the TSU Paleontological Museum. With high probability, it belonged to the same dinosaur species.
Scientists believe that the unique exhibit should have permanent free access so that more people can view it. Already this year, paleontologists have proposed displaying the most intact part of the dinosaur on the second floor of the TSU main building.