HomeScience & Tech'Staggering': 45 new dinosaur species have been discovered every year since 2003

‘Staggering’: 45 new dinosaur species have been discovered every year since 2003

Paleontologists have discovered 42 new dinosaur species this year. This may seem like a lot, but considering the discoveries made in the last two decades, it’s actually below average.

The paleontologists have discovered 45 new dinosaur species every year since 2003, according to National Geographic. The publication called the pace “staggering”.

Among the discoveries made this year are hundreds of dinosaur footprints so well-preserved that even the scaly skin can be seen.

They have been found in Poland, giving an insight into a complex ecosystem around 200 million years ago, geologists said. Described by the Polish Geological Institute-National Research Institute as a treasure trove, the fossilised tracks and bones were found in an opencast clay mine in Borkowice, 130 km (80 miles) south of Warsaw.

Tom Holtz, who maintains a database of new dinosaur discoveries, told National Geographic that the increased pace of discovery is because “more parts of the world is being investigated”.

In recent years, several species have been discovered in China and Argentina. In Australia, the country’s largest-ever dinosaur was found recently, which was a two-story, plant-eating sauropod the length of a basketball court and lives 98 million years ago.

Then there are technological advancements which have allowed paleontologists to not only discover new species of dinosaurs, but also measure their details of their skin, cellular structure, social displays etc.

National Geographic also listed some of the major discoveries made by paleontologists this year:

Spicomellus afer: This was discovered in Morocco and had a single rib fragment with four spikes, measuring about 10.5 inches long. Based on the fossil’s shape and size, researchers strongly suspect it belonged to a type of armored dinosaur called an ankylosaur.

Australotitan cooperensis: This is Australia’s biggest known dinosaur species. It is a titanosaurian, a subgroup of the long-necked sauropods that includes the biggest animals that ever walked on land. Scientists estimate that the full animal weighed anywhere between 26 and 82 tons.

Tlatolophus galorum: This species was found in southern Mexico. The full discovery was unveiled in Cretaceous Research in May. It is a type of herbivorous dinosaur called a lambeosaur. The dinosaur is so named because its dramatic crest resembles the tlahtolli, a comma-like symbol in Aztec art.

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