Named Ibirania parva, the species was disclosed in the last week by paleontologist Bruno Navarro.
Such qualification comes from the union of the words Ibirá, the city where it was found, Ania, which in Greek means pilgrim, and parva, the Latin word for small.
The animal is a Titanosaur five to six meters long, a herbivorous species known for its large neck. He is considered the first “dwarf of the Americas”.
G1 indicates that the discovery stemmed from work carried out since the 1990s and published in an international scientific journal on September 15.
In an interview with the site, Navarro, a paleontologist at the Zoology Museum of the University of Sao Paulo, pointed out that “the collections began in 1999, the year in which they found some fossils of the new species” and “the material of the holotype (individual that carries the name of the species) was discovered by Professor Dr. Marcelo Adorna Fernandes, in 2005».
Viriato Antônio Lobo de Araújo, Secretary of Tourism of Ibirá and volunteer for the excavations, was responsible for locating it in Vila Ventura, where the work was carried out.
The material found by Adorna and Lobo de Aráujo served as analysis in 2015 and “when we collect some type of fossil, we compare it with similar ones. If we notice something different, we look deeper, “said the paleontologist.
From the work, the researchers perceived that the new species had some anatomical characteristics that differed from the others.
One of them is that the structures of Ibirania parva presented a hyper pneumatization of its axial skeleton, that is, hollow spaces in the vertebrae, even preserving remains of air sacs, used for temperature control. This type of structure is similar to birds and different from other dinosaurs.
In addition to being proven that the species was smaller compared to other Titanosaurs, the team was surprised by the dwarf form as the first recorded in the Americas.
As the Ibirá region did not have a relationship with the sea, the researchers were motivated to understand how the environment of the time influenced the size of the species.
According to Navarro, one of the first reasons is that this fossil reptile had a preference for creeping food, such as bushes.
In addition, in the Cretaceous period, in which the Ibirania parva lived, the northwestern region of São Paulo was marked by long dry seasons, in addition to a rather arid climate. It was this harsh environment that selected for the small herbivorous dinosaurs.