This large dadet exhumed in the Spanish Pyrenees disturbs researchers because of its unusual measurements in this area.
At the Orcau-1 dig site in the southern Spanish Pyrenees, an international team of international researchers has made a startling discovery; they came across the fossilized remains of what appears to be an entirely new species of titanosaur.
Abditosaurus kuehnei – that’s his name – was a real giant. Like all titanosaurs, therefore the most illustrious representative is probably the famous diplodocus, it had a massive body and an extremely elongated neck which allowed it to access all types of plants for constant feeding. And the least we can say is that it must have taken a good amount of calories to sustain the beast; according to researchers’ estimates, this dinosaur was as long and as heavy as a bus and a half (18 meters long and about 14 tons).
We therefore imagine that the fifty or so elements unearthed by the researchers must have been quite imposing. But in addition to their size, these bones have another particularity. It is indeed the most complete skeleton ever exhumed in the zone of the Ibero-Armorican arc, which has become Spain and the south of France today.
And this is a fascinating detail for researchers. Because at the time ofAbditosaurus kuehneI, i.e. the Late Cretaceous, Europe was not one large landmass as it is known today. Instead, there was a vast archipelago composed mainly of medium and small islands. Natural selection therefore favored a small size, more adapted to this environment, in most European species of the time. It is therefore very surprising to find such a mastodon there.
Big legs for a long migration
To explain this peculiarity, the researchers put forward the hypothesis thatAbditosaurus could have taken advantage of a global drop in the level of the oceans to move. This is an explanation well known to specialists, and found in hundreds of paleontological scenarios of this type. Indeed, many works have already established that these variations in sea level had paved the way for large-scale migrations that laid the foundations of many current ecosystems. We know, for example, that there are still traces of human migration in areas that are now completely submerged.
This hypothesis corresponds particularly well to the case ofAbditosaurus. Indeed, some of their colleagues have already discovered other titanosaurs with measurements comparable to Gondwana, a paleosupercontinent that included, among other places, present-day Africa. It could therefore be one of the last representatives of a caste of migrating titanosaurs. It only remains for them to compare the skeleton found in the Pyrenees with other representatives of this lineage to find out for sure.