Fossils of new dinosaur species found in Brazil

Brazilian paleontologists have discovered a new giant dinosaur species based on fossilized fragments of the herbivorous reptile that lived 80 million years ago.

The Maxakalisaurus topai, of the Titanosauria group, was 13 meters (yards) long and weighed about nine tons.

It had a large body, long tail and neck with a relatively small head. Some of the bones found had the marks of teeth on them, which led scientists to believe that the specimen was devoured by carnivorous dinosaurs after its death.

The fossils date back to the Late Cretaceous period. They were found during excavations between 1998 and 2002 next to a highway in a place called Serra da Boa Vista in central-southern Minas Gerais state. It then took some time for the scientists to categorize the species and reconstruct the skeleton.

The name of the species, Maxakalisaurus topai, derives from an Indian tribe, Maxakali, which lives in the area. Topa is a divinity that the tribe worships. It is a custom in Brazil to give native Indian names to paleontological finds.

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