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Biggest-ever dinosaur fossils found

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Weighing more than 14 African elephants and stretching up to 40 metres long, the fossilised remains of a Titanosaur found in Argentina have paleontologists understandably excited. 

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Handout picture released on May 17, 2014 by the Egidio Feruglio Palaeontological Museum showing a technician next to a dinosaur fossil – likely to be the largest ever to roam the earth – in Chubut, some 1,300 kilometers south of Buenos Aires. AFP PHOTO / Museo Egidio Feruglio

Fossils of 'largest' dinosaur found in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, AFP — Palaeontologists in Argentina's remote Patagonia region have discovered fossils of what may be the largest dinosaur ever, amid a vast cache of fossils that could shed light on prehistoric life.

The creature is believed to be a new species of Titanosaur, a long-necked, long-tailed sauropod that walked on four legs and lived some 90 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period.

Researchers say the plant-eating dinosaur weighed the equivalent of more than 14 African elephants, or about 100 tonnes, and stretched up to 40 meters in length.

The previous record holder, also in Argentina, the Argentinosaurus, was estimated to measure 36.6 meters long.

A fossilised femur of the Titanosaur was larger than a palaeontologist who lay next to it.

And the find didn't stop there.

Bones from at least seven individual dinosaurs, including some believed to be younger, were found at the site.

This is "the most complete discovery of this type of giant dinosaur in the world, a momentous discovery for science," cheered Jose Luis Carballido, one of eight scientists who participated in the research.

The fossils were accidentally discovered in 2011 by a farm worker in a remote area in the Patagonian province of Chubut, some 1,300 kilometers south of Buenos Aires.

Palaeontologists in Argentina's remote Patagonia region have discovered fossils of a creature is believed to be a new species of Titanosaur, a long-necked, long-tailed sauropod that walked on four legs and lived some 95 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period. AFP PHOTO / Museo Egidio Feruglio

The worker first spotted a massive leg bone, measuring some 2.4 meters in length.

Excavations launched in January 2013 also uncovered complete bones of the tail, torso and neck – which will allow for a fuller picture of what the entire animal looked like when alive.

Carballido, part of a team of Argentine and Spanish researchers, said the group had uncovered "10 vertebrae of the torso, 40 from the tail, parts of the neck and complete legs."

Even more bones may yet appear.

So far, "we have only recovered an estimated 20 percent of what's in the field," said Carballido.

In addition to the skeletal remains, fossil imprints of leaves and stems have been found, which could help researchers rebuild the ecosystem at the time.

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appear: to be seen - ปรากฏ

cache: a quantity of things that have been hidden or stored, especially weapons - สิ่งที่ซ่อนไว้

creature: anything that lives except plants - สิ่งมีชีวิต (คน, สัตว์)

Cretaceous: of the period between around 146 to 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs lived (until they died out); of the rocks formed during this time - ยุคครีเทเชียส

discover: to find somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before - ค้นพบ

discovery: an act or the process of finding somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before - การค้นพบ

ecosystem: all the plants and animals in a particular area, considered as a system with parts that depend on one another - ระบบที่เกิดจากความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างสิ่งมีชีวิตและสิ่งแวดล้อม

equivalent: the same as   - เท่าเทียมกันกับ

estimated: thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ

excavation: removing earth that is covering very old objects buried in the ground in order to discover things about the past - กระบวนการขุดค้นหาวัตถุโบราณ

femur: the thigh bone - กระดูกโคนขา

fossil: the remains of an animal or a plant which have become hard and turned into rock - ซากพืชหรือสัตว์ที่เป็นหิน, ซากฟอสซิล

imprint: a mark made by pressing or stamping something onto a surface - รอยประทับ

individual: relating to or involving a single, separate person or thing - แต่ละบุคคล

massive: very large in size, amount or number - ใหญ่โต

momentous: very important  - ที่สำคัญยิ่ง

palaeontologist: a scientist who studies fossils - ผู้ศึกษาซากดึกดำบรรพ์หรือซากฟอสซิล

participate: to take part in something - เข้าร่วม

prehistoric: before preceding written history, very early, ancient - ก่อนประวัติศาสตร์, ดึกดำบรรพ์, โบราณกาล, สมัยก่อนประวัติศาสตร์

release: to allow something to be shown or known to the public or to be available for use - เปิดเผย, ปล่อยข่าว

remains: the body of a person or animal that has died - ซากศพ

remote: far away from other cities, towns, or people - ที่ห่างไกล 

research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย

roam: to move or travel around in no particular direction - เดินทางท่องเที่ยวโดยปราศจากจุดหมาย

sauropod: a very large dinosaur with a long neck and tail, small head and four very large legs -

shed light on: to provide information or details to help us understand something -

site: a place where something is located - สถานที่

skeletal: involving the bones that form the structure of the bodies of humans or animals -

species: a set of animals or plants in which the members have similar characteristics to each other and can breed with each other - พันธ์,จำพวก

spot: to see or notice - สังเกตเห็น

stem: the long thin central part of a plant from which flowers and fruit grow - ลำต้น

stretch: to cause something to reach, often as far as possible, in a particular direction - ขยายออก, ยืดออก

torso: the main part of the body, not including the head, arms or legs - ลำตัว

vast: extremely large in area, size, amount, etc. - กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล

vertebrae: the small bones that are connected together down the back to form the spine - กระดูกสันหลัง

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