Issi saaneq, a two-legged dinosaur that lived in what is now Greenland, existed around 214 million years ago according to a study published on Nov. 3, as Live Science reported.
The new study reveals that the two newly described dinosaur skulls, which were discovered 27 years ago but misclassified, belong to a new species of the two-legged sauropodomorph, a group that contains the ancestors of the world’s largest dinosaurs.
The new dinosaur’s scientific name, Issi saaneq, is derived from the local Inuit language and means ‘Cold Bone.’ Cold Bone lived during the late Triassic period when eastern Greenland was connected to Europe, and was previously mistaken for an existent species.
Get to know ‘Cold Bone’
Scientific name: Issi saaneq
Long: 13 feet
Height: 5 feet
Weight: Up to one ton
As 6 Park reported, the researchers say the new species is one of the first sauropodomorphs to live in the Northern Hemisphere. It was a medium-sized sauropodomorph with a long neck that was the first sauropodomorph to reach latitudes north of 40 degrees (roughly at the level of central Spain and northern California).
Paleontologists from Harvard University discovered the dinosaur’s first remains, two well-preserved skulls, during an excavation at Jameson Land in eastern Greenland in 1994.
However, paleontologists misclassified one of the skulls as Plateosaurus trossingensis, a long-necked dinosaur found in Germany, France, and Switzerland during the Triassic period (251.9 million to 201.3 million years ago). A new study shows the skulls were discovered belong to a sister group of the Plateosaurus genus. “It is exciting to discover a close relative of the well-known Plateosaurus, more than a hundred of which have already been found here in Germany,” says co-author Dr. Oliver Wings from Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany.
The researchers used micro-computed tomography to construct 3D digital models of the internal structures and the bones that were still covered in sediment. According to lead author Victor Beccari, who conducted the analyses in the NOVA University of Lisbon “The anatomy of the two skulls is unique in many ways, for example in the shape and proportions of the bones. These specimens certainly belong to a new species.”
During the Late Triassic period, the herbivorous dinosaur Issi saaneq existed around 214 million years ago. Pangea, the supercontinent, broke up around this time, and the Atlantic Ocean began to form. “At that time, the Earth was undergoing climatic changes that allowed the first herbivorous dinosaurs to reach Europe and beyond,” Professor Lars Clemmensen of the University of Copenhagen explains.
I. saaneq was a medium-sized, long-necked herbivore of the plateosaurid group, which included long-necked dinosaurs that lived in what is now Brazil and Europe and grew to be 10 to 33 feet long (3 to 10 meters). The researchers added that neither of the two skulls belonged to a mature adult; one belonged to a juvenile, and the other to a late-stage juvenile or a young adult.