Fossil of new dinosaur species is found

March 23, 2006
A German youth sticks his head in the mouth of a dinosaur figure

Scientists reportedly have found the fossil of a previously unknown species of dinosaur that lived more than 100 million years ago in what is now Mongolia.

The dinosaur, which had air sacs in some of its bones to help support a 24-foot-long neck, belonged to a group of plant-munching giants called sauropods -- the largest animals ever to have walked the Earth, National Geographic News reported.

Paleontologists Daniel Ksepka and Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History in New York discovered the fossil in Mongolia's Gobi desert in 2002, including a neck vertebra that measures nearly 2 feet in length.

The newly described species is named Erketu ellisoni. Erketu, the god of might, was one of 99 deities from pre-Buddhist Mongolian tradition, NGN reported.

The paleontologists' analysis of their find was detailed in last week's issue of the museum's journal, Novitates.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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