Unknown creature 70 million years old found in Transylvania

(ORDO NEWS) — A group of paleontologists has presented a new study that describes an ancient creature previously unknown to science. It was found on the territory of Romania and identified as a new species of herbivorous dinosaurs.

The fossilized skull was discovered in the Haceg Basin, located in Transylvania in western Romania.

Scientists also call this basin “the island of dwarf dinosaurs.” Previously, the remains of dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period were repeatedly found here.

Most of them were quite small compared to their relatives that lived in other parts of the world.

So the new species of ancient lizards was relatively small. Scientists believe that these creatures were about two meters long and moved on two legs.

The new species was named Transylvanosaurus platycephalus, which reflects the name of the region where the fossils were found.

Paleontologists have identified it as an ancient herbivore that lived about 70 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period.

This means that Transylvanosaurus platycephalus was actually the last generation of dinosaurs that became extinct around the same period after the asteroid impact.

The scientists also write that the newly discovered species belonged to the Rhabdodontidae, a group of medium-sized iguanodont dinosaurs that were common in Europe during the Late Cretaceous.

“Its closest relatives lived in what is now France, which was a huge surprise for us,” says paleontologist Felix Augustin of the University of Tübingen.

Science does not yet have an exact answer to the question of how and why an “island of dwarf dinosaurs” formed on the territory of modern Transylvania. A popular theory is that food resources were limited in this part of Europe.

And the dinosaurs that lived here in the process of evolution adapted to such conditions, which resulted in a decrease in their size.

On the other hand, some of the world’s largest pterosaurs have been found in Transylvania. The wingspan of these giants reached 10 meters.

“The oldest remains of creatures classified as Rhabdodontidae come from Eastern Europe – from there, animals could spread westward, and later some species could return to Transylvania,” the researchers write.

“Sea level fluctuations and tectonic processes created temporary land bridges between many islands and may have contributed to the spread of these animals.

In addition, it can be assumed that almost all dinosaurs were able to swim to some extent, including Transylvanosaurus platycephalus. They had powerful legs and a powerful tail.”

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