Today’s Solutions: January 30, 2023

Paleontologists uncovered an exciting new species of dinosaur this month, found in Eastern Greenland. The remnants consisted of two skulls, which are thought to date back around 214 million years. Both dinosaurs died before they reached complete adulthood; one being a juvenile, and one being a young adult.

These huge dinosaur bones lie on a now partially frozen site, high up in the northern hemisphere. For this reason, scientists decided on the name Issi saaneq, meaning “cold bone” in Kalaallisut, an Inuit dialect spoken in Greenland, with about 56,000 native speakers and the official language within the country since 2009. Even though the dinosaur skulls are now found at this chilling temperature, when they were alive, the landmass looked very different. At this point, Greenland was a part of the supercontinent Pangea, meaning they would have been adapted to a much more humid and warm environment.

In the study, published in Diversity, scientists explained the method in which they classified species of dinosaur present. Micro-CT scanning allowed scientists to create virtual 3D models of both skulls, allowing closer investigation. Merely from skull autonomy, they could discern the dinosaur was a long-necked herbivore of medium size.

These i.saaneq skulls were actually excavated 27 years ago, though were misclassified into another long-necked species from the Triassic period Plateosaurus trossingensis. Scientists have now correctly classified “cold bone” as a kind of sister to this. “It is exciting to discover a close relative of the well-known Plateosaurus, hundreds of which have already been found here in Germany,” stated study co-author Oliver Wings. It was the unique anatomic structure of the shape and proportion of the nose bones which gave the team the tip off.

Source study: DiversityIssi saaneq gen. et sp. nov.—A New Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Late Triassic (Norian) of Jameson Land, Central East Greenland

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