The Aragosaurus was the first sauropod dinosaur described in Spain some 25 years ago in Galve (Teruel), but its age was never clear. And now it has been discovered that it is 15 million years younger than previously thought. This would make it the only dinosaur of the Hauterivian age (between 136 and 130 million years ago) to be found in Spain.
Aragosaurus is the oldest of its kind and could even be a common ancestor. Credit: Grupo Aragosaurus-IUCA
"This is the only dinosaur of this period found in Spain and is also the most intact in Europe. It can be categorised amongst the well known sauropods of the Jurassic-Cretaceous transition (135 million years ago), the most abundant species during the Barremian age (116 million years ago). As this group has been studied the least, the Aragosaurus fills the gap," explains to SINC José Ignacio Canudo, lead author of the study and researcher in the University of Zaragoza's Aragosaurus-IUCA Group, which stands for the Aragon Research Institute of Environmental Sciences.
Its new age means that Aragosaurus fills in the transitional period between the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, of which there is little record in the world. Canudo points out that "Aragosaurus would have therefore been a primitive ancestor of the titanosauraus sauropods that would later dominate Europe and Asia during the Late Cretaceous Period."
Published in Geological Magazine, thanks to this new dating the study shows that Aragosaurus, found by José Luis Sanz and his team in 1987, is the oldest of its kind and could even be a common ancestor. The researcher declares that "the group could have originated in Europe, or even in Iberia, but there is still a lot more to be found out."
The new finding also reveals that in the Early Cretaceous Period (135 million years ago), what we now know as the European Continent was made up of a series of large islands that could have been "the point of origin for many vertebrate groups including sauropod dinosaurs like the Basal Titanosauriform."
Fossil dating: An "almost" impossible mission
In order to situate the dinosaurs on their corresponding branch of the evolutionary tree, their remains require dating. In some cases though, this is lacking. Dating dinosaur remains can be problematic due the little information available on the age of the sediments where the fossils lie.
In relation to Aragosaurus ischiaticus "there are some lagoons that allude to its stratigraphic position," outlines Candudo, adding that dating "can often be complicated due to imprecision in continental scales." For this reason, the age of some dinosaur species can vary "even by tens of millions of years", assures the geologist.
The research group carried out their detailed geological field work to find the remains in the lower part of the Castellar Formation site in Teruel. As the lower part is "not as rich" in fossils compared to the upper part, the only Aragosaurus remains that could be dated were a pollen fossil assemblage.
In Canudo's opinion, specifying the age of dinosaurs is "fundamental" in determining the paleobiogeography and evolution of these beings. As the scientist concludes, "incorrect aging provides the wrong results when determining the correlation between continents."
Canudo, J. I.; Gasca, J. M.; Moreno-Azanza, M.; Aurell, M. "New information about the stratigraphic position and age of the sauropod Aragosaurus ischiaticus from the Early Cretaceous of the Iberian Peninsula" Geological Magazine 149(2): 252-263, March de 2012 DOI: 10.1017/S0016756811000732
SINC Team | EurekAlert!
NASA examines newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D
26.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle
25.04.2017 | Rice University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy