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Photos: Long-Necked Titanosaur Had Tiny Brain, Good Vision

Adding to our history

how sarmientosaurus musacchioi lived

(Image credit: Mark A. Klingler | Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

Paleontologists are practically giddy with the discovery of a new dinosaur skull. The skull belongs to newly identified titanosaur (sarmientosaurus musacchioi), an incredibly long-necked and long-tailed dinosaur that lived about 95 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.

Titanosaurs were giants with tiny heads, but their heads rarely fossilized, the researchers told Live Science. The new finding provides amazing insights into the brains, hearing and vision of these enormous herbivorous beasts, they said. [Read the Story on the Titanosaur Skull]

High-tech research

High-tech research using computers and scanners to render 3d images

(Image credit: WitmerLab | Ohio University)

Using modern technology, the team reconstructed the skull, brain and eye of Sarmientosaurus musacchio. At left is a semitransparent view of the skull revealing the size and placement of the brain inside. The brain rendering sits in the center. On the right, the digitally rendered skull shows the eyeballs and associated muscles.


Prize finding

Martínez and Lamanna with Sarmientosaurus musacchioi skull

(Image credit: Matt Lamanna | Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

Rubén Martínez (right), and Matt Lamanna (left) pose with the skull and neck bones of the newfound titanosaurian dinosaur species Sarmientosaurus musacchioi in Martínez’s lab in Comodor Rivadavia.


Treasure map

Treasure map to Sarmientosaurus musacchioi dig site

(Image credit: Martínez R.D.F. et al. PLOS ONE 2016)

A map showing where the paleontologists discovered the fossils in Patagonia, Argentina.

How they lived

how sarmientosaurus musacchioi lived

(Image credit: Mark A. Klingler | Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

In this illustration, two examples of the newfound titanosaurian dinosaur species Sarmientosaurus musacchioi search for food in their habitat in southern Chubot Province, in Patagonia, Argentina.

Releasing the monster


team members carefully remove the Sarmientosaurus musacchioi skull from the site

(Image credit: Rubén Martínez | Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco)

Rubén Martínez (center), the study leader, works with students and technicians from the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina, at the dig site in southern Chubut Province to unearth the skull and neck of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species Sarmientosaurus musacchioi.


Original condition

the skull of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species was inverted

(Image credit: Rubén Martínez | Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco)

When found in southern Chubut Province, Argentina, the skull of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species was inverted.


Digital comparison

Digital comparison of the illustrated dinosaur and the reconstructed skull

(Image credit: Mark A. Klingler | Carnegie Museum of Natural History and WitmerLab | Ohio University)

The illustration here allows for a comparison of the digitally rendered skull with the artist's conception of the new titanosaurian dinosaur species Sarmientosaurus musacchioi.


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