Tags: titanosaur | dinosaur | fossil | africa

Titanosaur Fossil Discovered Embedded in African Cliff (Video)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 September 2014 01:55 PM

A new titanosaur has been unearthed in a cliff wall in Tanzania — a rare find for Africa.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the new fossil of "Rukwatitan bisepultus" included vertebrae, ribs, legs, and pelvic bones, and is described in detail in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

"Using both traditional and new computational approaches, we were able to place the new species within the family tree of sauropod dinosaurs," wrote Eric Gorscak, doctoral student of Ohio University and lead author of the study.

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Sauropods, known for walking on four legs and having long necks and tails, were exclusive herbivores. Titanosaurian sauropods in Africa died off during the Cretaceous period, roughly 100 million years ago.

The behemoth dinosaur is not as big as the recently named "Dreadnoughtus schrani" fossil from the South American region of Patagonia — where titanosaur fossils are more common — but it is a giant nonetheless. Its front legs were 6.5 feet tall, and it weighed as much as several elephants.

The new fossil is notable as it is different in a number of regards from other titanosaur fossils, even those nearby in other parts of Africa. Its upper arm bones and tail bones are among the features most different from "Malawisaurus dixeyi" found in nearby Malawi.

Most interestingly, these differences could inform future scientists about land formations in the Cretaceous period, as the differences in the titanosaurs might one day be discovered to be the result of mountain ranges, large bodies of water, or other geographical features keeping their relative tribes apart.

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A new titanosaur has been unearthed in a cliff wall in Tanzania — a rare find for Africa.
titanosaur, dinosaur, fossil, africa
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 01:55 PM
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