For years scientists have believed that many types of dinosaurs died out after the great extinction at the end of the Jurassic Period, but recently discovered fossils show that at least one dinosaur managed to survive the catastrophic event. Aptly dubbed the tongue-twisting Leinkupal laticuada, which means “vanishing family,” this new species of dinosaur is thought to have possibly been the last of its kind, surviving even as the rest of its dinosaur-kind was wiped out. Even more interesting, scientists found the fossils where no other dinosaur of this kind has ever been found before.
The dinosaur is part of the sauropod species from a group called diplodocids, giant leaf eaters who are probably the largest animals to ever walk the earth. Thought to have vanished at the end of the Jurassic Period, the group of eight fossils were discovered indicate that this particular dinosaur may have gone on even after the mass extinction. If so, it’s the first of its kind to have emerged into the Cretaceous period.
Scientists discovered the fossils in South America in Patagonia, though scientists had assumed that the diplodocid was confined to North America. That makes this discovery particularly exciting, because it means that we may soon have a better understanding about how dinosaurs moved and dispersed after the extinction event and the changing climate.