Friday, January 28

They discover in Castellón the remains of an unknown species of dinosaur

Artistic reconstruction of the new species of dinosaur found in Portell de la Morella.

Artistic reconstruction of the new species of dinosaur found in Portell de la Morella.

It lived in the Iberian Peninsula “shortly after” the Jurassic, about 130 million years ago, and the fossil remains of a dinosaursor found in a site in Portell (Castellón) have revealed that it is a hitherto unknown species, resembling a large ‘iguanodon’ (giant iguana).

Field work -first- and laboratory -after- have also made it possible to verify that the new dinosaur described by science, a large herbivore between 6 and 8 meters in length and up to 1,000 kilos in weight, it is closely related to other similar ones that inhabited what is now China and Niger (Africa).

In the investigation, led by the paleontologist Andrés Santos-CubedoScientists from the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) of Castellón and the Universitat de València have participated, and the results that have been obtained after several years of research and verification appear today published in the American journal Plos One.

Herbivore, large and robust, with teeth similar to those of an iguana, the new dinosaur has been dubbed ‘Portellsaurus sosbaynati‘.

The scientific name thus combines the name of the locality where it has been found (Portell) with the Greek word ‘sauros’ (lizard) to describe the genus; and the name of the Spanish geologist Vicente Sos Baynat -first scientist who received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the UJI- to nominate the species.

Researchers have described the new species of dinosaur after finding and studying the fossil remains of a nearly complete jaw -the right- found in one of the sites in Portell, northwest of the province of Castellón, one of the areas of the Iberian Peninsula where more dinosaur remains have been found and cataloged.

The results of this work are part of a project that began in 2016 and in which Andrés Santos-Cubedo and Sergi Meseguer (from the UJI) have participated as main researchers; Carlos de Santisteban (UV) and Begoña Poza (from the Grup Guix de Vila-real).

No similar material in the world

The paleontologist Andrés Santos-Cubedo has explained that the right tooth found in one of the Portell sites has a “unique” combination of characteristics and has underlined that there is no similar material anywhere else in the world.

In statements to EFE, Santos-Cubedo has specified that the new species of dinosaur they have described is closely related to the Chinese dinosaur ‘Bolong’ and the African ‘Ouranosaurus’.

And he has specified that in the same site where they have found this jaw (that of Mas de Curolles II) and in another nearby (that of Mas de Clapises) they have gathered so far a collection of over 250 dinosaur fossil remains whose study in the laboratory is still being carried out and that could belong to the same species that has now been described or to others.

But more funds will be needed – he pointed out – to be able to prepare and study all the material found in the area by paleontologists and to undertake new excavation campaigns to recover more fossils in an area where, together with Aragon and Catalonia, more non-avian dinosaurs (species halfway between the most classic dinosaurs and birds). ) have been described.

Other findings at the site

The researcher has explained that in the deposits of the province of Castellón other dinosaurs have been described that could coexist with the ‘Portellsaurus sosbaynati’, including several theropods and crocodylomorphs, and that fish teeth and remains of various invertebrates have also been found.

Santos-Cubedo has specified that in Spain there are “only” 25 species of dinosaurs that have been described for the first time for science from the fossils recovered in sites such as Mas de Curolles, and that the remains found now correspond to the oldest dinosaur species in the province of Castellón – about 130 million years old-.

And has highlighted that the deposits have not yet been excavated “in depth” and they have already been detected other fossils that are pending to be extracted from the earth and that they will be added to those that have been located in nearby locations, such as Cinctorres or Morella, and that could also reveal that they are new and unknown species to science.

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