Africa’s oldest dinosaur discovered

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ANDREÏ ATUCHIN / VIRGINIA TECH Reconstruction of the dinosaur Mbiresaurus raathi ANDREÏ ATUCHIN / VIRGINIA TECH DINOSAURS – A dinosaur of this era had never been discovered in Africa. Scientists announced, this Thursday, September 1 in Zimbabwe, the discovery of the remains of the oldest dinosaur in Africa. It roamed the Earth about 230 million years ago. Named Mbiresaurus raathi, the dinosaur was only about one meter tall, with a long tail and weighed up to 30 kg, according to the international team of paleontologists who made the discovery. It was during two excavations that paleontologists discovered part of the skeletons and the results of this research were published on August 31 in the journal Nature and broadcast by ScienceDaily. “It ran on two legs and had a pretty small head,” Christopher Griffin, a scientist at Yale University who unearthed the first bone, told AFP. “It is probably an omnivore that ate plants, small animals and insects. The dinosaur belongs to the ‘sauropodomorph’ species, the same lineage that would later include giant long-necked dinosaurs. The skeleton was found during two expeditions in 2017 and 2019 by a team of researchers from Zimbabwe, Zambia and the United States. “I removed the entire femur and knew then that it was a dinosaur and that I had the oldest known dinosaur fossil in Africa,” recalls Christopher Griffin, then a PhD student at Virginia Tech University. Christopher Griffin et al., doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05133-x. Skeletal anatomy of Mbiresaurus raathi Christopher Griffin et al., doi:10.1038/s41586-022-05133-x. Similarities between Mbiresaurus raathi and other South American dinosaurs Dinosaur remains from the same period had previously only been found in South America and India. Paleontologists chose Zimbabwe to dig after calculating that when all the continents were connected into a single land mass known as Pangea, it was at about the same latitude as previous discoveries made in North America. “Mbiresaurus raathi is remarkably similar to some dinosaurs of the same age found in Brazil and Argentina, reinforcing the case that South America and Africa were part of a continuous land mass,” said Max Langer of biology department of the University of São. Paulo in Brazil. The dinosaur’s name refers to the Mbire district in northeastern Zimbabwe, where the skeleton was found, and paleontologist Michael Raath, who first reported the fossils from that region. Other specimens have been found in this area, all of which are deposited in the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo. “The discovery of Mbiresaurus is exciting and special for Zimbabwe and for the entire paleontological field,” said museum curator Michel Zondo. “The fact that the skeleton of Mbiresaurus is almost complete makes it perfect reference material for further discoveries,” he added. See also at The HuffPost: 70-million-year-old dinosaur discovered in Brazil You cannot view this content because you have declined cookies associated with third-party content. If you want to see this content, you can change your preferences.
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