In DepthPaleontology

The tiniest titan

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Science  22 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6284, pp. 395
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6284.395

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Scientists have for some time figured that titanosaurs—a group of massive, long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs—didn't provide much parental care to their offspring. But a lack of fossils from babies meant there was no way to tell for sure. Now, a find of fossil bones from a weeks-old dinosaur provides the first solid evidence that titanosaur babies could fend for themselves. From microstructures inside the bone, researchers discovered that the baby was between 39 and 77 days old and weighed 40 kilograms when it died. The terrier-sized juvenile was able to walk around and likely feed itself, as evidenced by its adultlike proportions and signs of stress in its leg bones. And the shape of the baby's bone cartilage regions points to its untimely death by starvation.