Saturday, October 20, 2007

Complete Titanosaur Fossil Found

Here is a great story on a new, huge dinosaur species, once again found in South America:

"The skeleton of what is believed to be a new dinosaur species — a 105-foot plant-eater that is among the largest dinosaurs ever found — has been uncovered in Argentina, scientists said Monday.

Scientists from Argentina and Brazil said the Patagonian dinosaur appears to represent a previously unknown species of Titanosaur because of the unique structure of its neck. They named it Futalognkosaurus dukei after the Mapuche Indian words for "giant" and "chief," and for Duke Energy Argentina, which helped fund the skeleton's excavation.

"This is one of the biggest in the world and one of the most complete of these giants that exist," said Jorge Calvo, director of the paleontology center at the National University of Comahue, Argentina. He was lead author of a study on the dinosaur published in the peer-reviewed Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

Scientists said the giant herbivore walked the Earth some 88 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period."

This brings up another handy retort to the standard creationist canard about gaps in the fossil record. Here we have a species that roamed the earth no doubt in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, and yet we often have only one or two specimens. Sometimes all we have is part of one individual. So of course there are gaps. It would be more noteworthy if there weren't gaps. Who knows how many species never had a member be so fortunate as to become fossilized. To hear creationists talk, one would think fossilization was a common occurrence, instead of one that requires many unusual conditions to be present.

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