Indian researchers have identified fossil bone fragments of sauropod dinosaurs dating back to about 100 million years from an area around West Khasi Hills district of the north eastern state of Meghalaya.
The yet-to-be-published findings were made during a recent field trip by researchers from the Geological Survey of India's Palaeontology division in North-East.
The GSI researchers noted that this is the first record of sauropods of probable Titanosaurian origin discovered in the region, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Sauropods had very long necks, long tails, small heads relative to the rest of their body, and four thick, pillar-like legs. They are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some species, and the group includes the largest animals to have ever lived on land.
The finding makes Meghalaya the fifth state in India after Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu and the only state in the North-East to report Sauropod bones having titanosaurian affinity, they said.
Titanosaurs were a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, including genera from Africa, Asia, South America, North America, Europe, Australia and Antarctica.
"Dinosaur bones from Meghalaya were reported by GSI in 2001 but they were too fragmentary and ill-preserved to understand its taxonomic identification," said Arindam Roy, Senior Geologist, Palaeontology Division, GSI.
"The present find of bones is during fieldwork in 2019-2020 and 2020-21. The last visit of the team was in February 2021. The fossils are presumably of Late Cretaceous, about 100 million years ago," Roy told PTI.
He noted that the best-preserved fossils are limb bones, adding the type of curvature, development of lateral and proximal margins of the partially preserved bone are indicative of it being a humerus bone.
Robustness of the bone, the difference in curvature in the lateral margins and the proximal border being relatively straight, are some of the morphological characters that hint at the titanosaurid affinity, according to the researchers.