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New age is confirmed for Spanish dinosaur

March 12, 2012 at 7:28 PM   |   Comments

ZARAGOZA, Spain, March 12 (UPI) -- The first dinosaur found in Spain is a younger species than first thought and the ancestor of Titanosauriforms, the Earth's biggest dinosaurs, scientists say.

Twenty-five years ago when the Aragosaurus sauropod dinosaur fossil was first described in Spain its age was never clear, but new research has discovered it is 15 million years younger than previously estimated, a release from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology reported Monday.

This would make it the only dinosaur of the Hauterivian age -- from 136 million to 130 million years ago -- to be found in Spain, researchers said, and Aragosaurus fills in the transitional period between the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, of which little is known.

"This is the only dinosaur of this period found in Spain and is also the most intact in Europe," Jose Ignacio Canudo, a researcher at the University of Zaragoza, said.

"It can be categorized 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.

"Aragosaurus would have therefore been a primitive ancestor of the titanosauraus sauropods that would later dominate Europe and Asia during the Late Cretaceous Period."

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