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The following Reuters news release is freely available at the New York Times
science-news website (you'll have to log in). If this release is published in
a newspaper somewhere, and it probably will be, the name Sauropodus will have
to go into the DinosaurGenera List as a nomen nudum:
Argentine Find May Be Previously Unknown Herbivore
Filed at 4:19 p.m. ET [Feb 8 2001]
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) - A paleontologist said on Thursday that
95-million-year-old fossils unearthed in western Argentina might be the bones
of a previously unknown herbivorous dinosaur.
Argentine paleontologist Edith Simon said her 11-member team found the
creature, named Sauropodus, beneath the town of Villa el Chocon in Neuquen
province -- the same area that in 1990 yielded the bones of Argentinosaurus,
the biggest dinosaur known to have walked the Earth.
``Even though geologically it was found on the same level as the
Argentinosaurus, we are comparing it with other fossils in the area and it
doesn't seem to match any. It may be a new type,'' Simon told Reuters.
Sauropodus was 30 yards long and weighed about 70 tons, Simon said.
Simon's team hopes the find will help explain why herbivorous dinosaurs
vanished from the South American continent millions of years ago. Then, the
area known as ''Dinosaur Valley'' in Argentina's southern Patagonia, was a
steaming swamp, not the arid Andean foothills of today.
The Sauropodus suffered a swift and violent death in an attack by a
carnivore, which ironically contributed to its preservation for
``The way it died influenced its state of conservation. It may have sunk in
the mud in a shallow lake and been covered in fine sediment without oxygen,
meaning bacteria could not act on it,'' said Simon.
Bones found so far include upper and lower limbs, vertebrae, ribs and a piece