Roaring Reveal: Unprecedented Discovery of 90 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Fossil Unveils Three Distinct Species in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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In a groundbreaking new discovery, paleontologists in Sao Paulo, Brazil have unearthed an incredible 90 million-year-old dinosaur fossil. This discovery, made in the small city of General Salgado, approximately 600 kilometers from the state capital, reveals evidence of at least three distinct species groups, including both carnivores and herbivores.

The research leading to this extraordinary find was conducted by a team of scientists from the Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, the Universidade Federal de São Carlos, and the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade Federal do São Paulo. During their studies, the scientists discovered the remains of at least ten dinosaur skeletons, all dating back to the late Cretaceous period, between 100 and 90 million years ago.

Among the findings, researchers identified a variety of carnivorous and herbivorous individuals, shedding light on the diversity of dinosaurs that once roamed the region. Bruno Navarro, a paleontologist and doctoral student at the USP Museum of Zoology, described the discovery as unprecedented, stating, “É realmente um achado inédito porque outras pegadas da mesma bacia que já foram descritas são de outra formação, no estado do Paraná, e com uma idade diferente.” This suggests that this particular discovery is unlike anything previously documented in the same basin.

The process of extracting these invaluable fossils proved to be a challenge. The paleontologists had to break the rock into three separate pieces before they could transport it to the Paleontology Laboratory at MZUSP. Each fragment weighed approximately a hundred kilograms, underscoring the magnitude of the find.

Interestingly, the dinosaur footprints, or “pegadas,” were stumbled upon by zoology professor Ariovaldo Giaretta of the Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (campus de Ituiutaba), who was actually searching for snake skeletons in the Triangular Basin region. This unexpected discovery highlights the importance of chance in scientific exploration.

Experts in the field believe that the discovered bones belonged to a sauropod, a large herbivorous dinosaur that walked on four legs, a terapod, a group of bipedal carnivorous dinosaurs that includes birds, and potentially an ornithopod, a bipedal herbivorous dinosaur. To distinguish between these different species, Marcelo Adorna, a paleontologist and an expert on icnofossils, utilizes fossilized teeth, as they leave unique deformations in the rock. Yet, despite these efforts, it remains challenging to definitively link a specific species to each individual footprint.

The pegadas were found in sediments located in the Bacia Bauru region, which encompasses the cretaceous rocks of the interior states of Paraná, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and a portion of Mato Grosso do Sul. The Cretaceous Period, the last of the Mesozoic Era, spanned approximately 145 million years. While previous discoveries in the same basin have included skeletons of crocodiles, turtles, birds, snakes, and dinosaurs, this marks the first time that well-preserved pegadillo remains have been found.

The team of researchers is currently undergoing lab analysis at MZUSP to learn more about the environmental characteristics that surrounded these dinosaurs. One theory suggests that the footprints could have formed when the animals drank from a nearby river. Additional findings from this analysis may offer valuable insights into the behavior and habitats of these ancient creatures.

Overall, this remarkable discovery is a testament to the ongoing importance of paleontological research and its ability to unveil new insights into the Earth’s distant past. The fossils unearthed in Sao Paulo provide a glimpse into a world that existed millions of years ago, offering valuable information that contributes to our understanding of the diversity and evolution of prehistoric life.