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'New species' of dinosaur found

Scientists claim to have discovered a new species of dinosaur which roamed the world 100 million years ago.

Nicknamed the Sibirosaurus, the creature is thought to be related to the giant Titanosaurs which could grow to 40 metres and weighed up to 90 tonnes.

The find was made by experts in Russia who discovered fossils encased in rocks on the banks of the Kiya River in Western Siberia in 2008.

The rocks could not be removed so scientists from Tomsk State University extracted fragments of the fossils from the sandstone for examination, The Siberian Times reported.

Dr Stepan Ivantsov, a scientific researcher in the Laboratory of Mesozoic and Cenozoic Continental Ecosystems, said they originally believed the remains were of a very large herbivore.

It took many years of painstaking research to discover it was an entirely new dinosaur.

He told the newspaper: "When we discovered this finding, it was only clear that the remains belonged to a very large herbivorous dinosaur from the sauropods group. It was the first scientifically described dinosaur from this group in Russia.

"Now after work on the extraction of all the remnants and the restoration (of the bones) are almost completed, we can confidently say that we have found a new species, and maybe even genus.

"If we talk about our discovery, this dinosaur lived in the Late Cretaceous period, that is about 100 million years ago."

Experts believe a dinosaur foot found at the same location in 1995 may also belong to the newly discovered species.

Dr Ivantsov said: "We constantly find the remains of dinosaurs on this site, near Shestakovo village. They fall down from the steep river bank regularly and we collect them."

Bones including part of a shoulder blade will be exhibited permanently in Paleontological Museum of Tomsk State University.

Titanosaurs were some of the biggest dinosaurs to ever walk the earth and weighed up to 90 tonnes, the equivalent of nine African elephants.

They were named after the mythical Titans of Ancient Greece - giant deities of incredible strength.

Titanosaurs have very long necks and whip-like tails, tiny heads and thick stumpy legs.

They ate plants and were armoured with small bony plates along its back which helped protect them from predators.

David Norman, director of studies in Earth Sciences at Cambridge University, said it is not rare to find dinosaur remains, but the discovery is notable because it suggests the large herbivores lived in areas they have not been found in before.

He said: "It is a case of look and usually you will find. Although, they are animals that lived on land and because of that the chances of them being preserved is less than if they were creatures in the seas or rivers, so they are certainly rarer.

"On that basis the discovery that has been made is interesting because it is from a part of the world that hasn't yielded these particular sorts of dinosaurs.

"It therefore increases the geographic range - they have been found in Africa, Europe and China before. It is interesting."

Dr Norman said Titanosaurs are large ling-necked dinosaurs which travelled in herds.

He said: "It is an animal a bit like Dippy, the dinosaur in the hall of the Natural History Museum - it is that sort of shape. It is long-necked and has a long tail with an elephant sized body."

He said dinosaur footprints suggest they travelled in herds with the largest members on the outside creating a kind of ring of steel which protected the women and children in the centre.

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