New long-necked dinosaur helps rewrite historical past of sauropods in South America

Patagosaurus was native to Patagonia, and is among the sauropods most intently associated to Perijasaurus. Credit score: Pol et al. (2020)

A medium-sized sauropod dinosaur lived within the rainforest area of the Serranía del Perijá in northern Colombia about 175 million years in the past, in accordance with a brand new research by a global workforce of researchers revealed in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The brand new species is a long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur identified from a single trunk vertebra that’s about half a meter lengthy and broad. A singular sample of vertebrae that identifies the brand new dinosaur species Perijasaurus lapaz (pear-EE-hah-SOW-roos la-PAHZ)—named after the mountainous area the place it was discovered, for peace 2016. a treaty which allowed scientists to proceed their analysis a long time after the fossil stays had been found in 1943.

Perijasaurus is the northernmost sauropod in South America, marking the start of its evolutionary historical past.

“This new genus and species within the paleotropics permits us to know just a little extra in regards to the origin of sauropods within the Jurassic, and the way the stage was laid for later sauropods within the Cretaceous, ” stated research lead writer Aldo Rincón Burbano, a professor of physics and geography on the Universidad del Norte in Colombia.

The fossil was first found in 1943 throughout the Tropical Oil Firm’s land mapping challenge. The specimen was taken to the collections of the College of California, Berkeley, and photographed in 1955.

College of Michigan Paleontology Curator Jeff Wilson Mantilla examined the specimen as a graduate scholar in 1997, then created a Fulbright Basis-sponsored challenge to check early sauropod evolution in Colombia.

As a part of that challenge, the Colombian mannequin was loaned to UM, and lead designer William Sanders eliminated the resin and plaster, which elevated the visibility of the blue particulars and decreased the general weight of the mannequin.

“After the reconstruction of the skeleton, we had been higher capable of visualize the skinny laminae that join the components of the vertebra—the backbone, the intervertebral discs, the ribs—and the structure of these connections is offers necessary morphological info that signifies a brand new species to be positioned within the sauropod household tree,” stated Wilson Mantilla.

A 3D mannequin of the specimen is hosted on the College of Michigan On-line Repository of Fossils.

A struggle since 1964 between the Colombian navy, the FARC guerrilla group and paramilitary teams has made it unsafe to conduct analysis within the Serranía del Perijá, close to the border between Colombia and Venezuela, till solely to the peace agreements in 2016.

Since then, the analysis workforce has been working to find out the place the fossil was discovered. A satellite tv for pc picture of the realm overlaid on a hand-drawn map from 1955 reveals the situation of the landfill. One other clue was offered by the sediment faraway from the vertebra itself throughout preparation—permitting the workforce to find out the precise layer from which the bone got here.
collected. Work on the web site and close by areas helped to recreate the pure atmosphere that the dinosaur lived in.

“Perijasaurus lived in an atmosphere of low slopes adjoining to a river and a forested space. We discovered effective sand and leaf litter within the sediments laid down the place it was first found. the vertebra, and it’s much like the sediment within the neural arch. of the vertebrae, it’s preserved solely on the aspect of the river, that’s, close to the banks of the river, a forest space,” says Daniel Raad, a former geography scholar on the Universidad del Norte.

Many of the dinosaurs present in South America come from rocks from the Cretaceous interval in Argentina and Brazil. Dinosaurs from the northern a part of South America had been rarer, particularly throughout the Jurassic and Triassic durations, throughout the first radiation of dinosaurs, when the continents had been nonetheless related.

“Though Perijasaurus is represented by a single vertebra, that area of the skeleton offers essentially the most info in sauropods, as a result of sequence of laminae and different buildings,” says Martín Ezcurra , a paleontologist and affiliate researcher of CONICET (Argentina’s Nationwide Council for Scientific and Technological Analysis) and head curator of paleovertebrates on the Argentine Museum of Pure Historical past.

The researchers had been capable of decide the evolutionary relationships of Perijasaurus by means of laptop evaluation specializing in Early and Center Jurassic sauropods.

New long-necked dinosaur helps rewrite history of sauropods in South America

A single necked vertebrae measuring almost half a meter in size and width has allowed scientists to establish a brand new species of long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur. Credit score: UM On-line Repository of Fossils viewer developed by the UM Museum of Paleontology

“Perijasaurus is a part of the primary lineage of sauropods, which incorporates species from southern South America, Africa, Asia and Europe,” says Harold Jiménez Velandia, a geologist on the College of Caldas.

The presence of Perijasaurus within the paleotropics of South America, along with its shut phylogenetic relationships with geographically widespread species inhabiting low latitudes, suggests a speedy diversification and dispersal of successive sauropods. throughout a serious anoxic occasion on the finish of the Decrease Jurassic, in some components of the oceans had been depleted of well being over giant geographical areas.

“What we see within the Early Jurassic, in excessive latitudes and tropical areas, is that sauropod species are evolutionary and geographically interconnected, one thing that has additionally been seen in different teams of carnivorous dinosaurs and herbs,” says Ezcurra. .

Sauropods had been the most important animals to ever stroll the earth, some reaching as much as 49 meters in size and weighing as much as 57 meters. Their potential to help their weight and transfer their our bodies comes from a sequence of variations to cut back weight and improve bone help.

An anatomical characteristic of sauropods is vertebral pneumaticity. Mainly, extensions of the air-pulmonary system lengthen into the vertebral column and fully take away the inner bones, making the skeleton clear.

“By the Late Jurassic, sauropods had developed extremely compressed pneumatic vertebrae with air areas that accounted for greater than half to three-quarters of the bone’s weight. Greater than 1 / 4 of the bone’s quantity,” Wilson stated. Mantilla stated.

He stated the workforce will proceed to deal with areas in Colombia the place Jurassic sediments are discovered.

“Colombia is rising as a rustic with nice potential to take part within the nationwide and worldwide area,” Wilson Mantilla stated.

Perijasaurus remains to be preserved on the College of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley, California.

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Extra information:
Aldo F. Rincón et al, A sauropod from the Decrease Jurassic La Quinta Formation (Dept. Cesar, Colombia) and the primary divergence of eusauropods at low latitudes, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (2022). DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2021.2077112

3D mannequin instance: … e=1673&extension=ctm

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