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Rain Forest Dinosaur

Dinosaur fossils found in Amazon 
Scientists in Brazil have found dinosaur fossils in the Amazon - proof, they
say, that the creatures once lived in the region. 
The Federal University in Rio de Janeiro said its researchers found the remains
of a new species of dinosaur, estimated to be 100 million years old. 

The dinosaur is part of a group of long-necked, long-tailed plant-eaters called

It has been named Amazonsaurus maranhensis , after Maranhao state. 

A dinosaur tooth was previously found in the Amazon, in northern Brazil, but it
was not regarded as proof that dinosaurs once lived there. 

Southern Brazil and northern Argentina have long provided some of the best
dinosaur finds. 

But many scientists believe palaeontology research in the Amazon rainforest is
pointless, theorising that the high humidity of the region would have caused
relatively rapid decay of fossils. 

Small but old 

The Amazonsaurus belongs to the herbivorous sauropod Diplodocus family. The only
sauropods found in Brazil before were Titanosaurs. 

The Amazonsaurus is believed to have been one of the smallest sauropods - about
10 metres (30 foot) long and weighing about 10 tonnes. 

Professor Ismar de Souza Carvalho, one of the scientists who found the fossils,
told BBC News Online that the Amazonsaurus was the oldest sauropod found in

He said the remains of other reptiles, including turtles and crocodiles, were
found with the dinosaur fossils as well as molluscs and fish. They have allowed
scientists to piece together a picture of the climatic conditions in which the
dinosaurs lived. 

The other scientists involved were Leonardo dos Santos Anvilla, another
Brazilian from the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and Argentine
Leonardo Salgado, of the Comahue National University. 

The UFRJ said similarities between the Amazon find and fossil fauna found in
north-western Africa backed the theory that South America and Africa were once
part of the same continent. 

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/01/15 16:16:27 GMT