The discovery of the "first giant" dinosaur has provided a big clue on how these paleo-beasts got to be the largest animals to walk on Earth. The fossilized remains include a shoulder bone, several neck vertebrae, and some bones from the legs and tail. However, Ingentia prima inhabited the Earth in the late Triassic period, somewhere between 210 and 205 million years ago. Dinosaur fans need to learn a new name, the lessemsaurids, because these were the first dinosaurs to grow to giant sizes of around 10 tonnes, back in the Triassic Period some 215 million years ago.
What is really unexpected is that the lessemsaurids achieved their huge bodies independently of the enormous sauropods like Brontosaurus and Diplodocus, which did indeed evolve later during the Jurassic. "These creatures, Ingentia prima, grew up exactly the way it did the other dinosaurs of that era that says that the giant dinosaurs appeared much earlier than we thought", - told Cecilia, Apalette from the Argentine University of San Juan.
Ingentia Prima was about 33 feet (10 metres) long, 14 feet (4 metres) tall and weighed up to ten tonnes.
"But with this discovery we can see the first steps toward gigantism occurred 30 million years before the giants dominated practically the entire planet". These were plant eaters and walked on all four legs.
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Ingentia was an early member of a dinosaur group called sauropods that later included Earth's biggest terrestrial creatures including the Patagonian behemoths Argentinosaurus, Dreadnoughtus and Patagotitan. Like their notorious descendants, they also had elongated necks and tails. What's more, I. prima had a bird-like cervical air sac and a neck with a high surface-to-volume ratio - characteristics that functioned like a built-in air conditioning system, allowing this oversized animal to stay cool.
"In addition, this kind of breathing implied the presence of cavities, or deep holes, in their bones - known as a pneumatic skeleton - that lightened the weight and would have favoured a large body size".
"It is a new way to get body size in an early moment in evolutionary history", said Dr Apaldetti. At the end of the Triassic period it was a type of savannah.
Find, Baldetti and her colleagues belong to the number of sauropods - large quadrupedal herbivorous dinosaurs, making rate of its huge mass, a huge number of eggs in the clutch and rapid growth of young animals.