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Science And Nature

Fabulous 230-million-year-old fossil is Africas oldest known dinosaur

Published August 31, 2022

13 min read

The long-necked dinosaurs referred to as sauropods were the largest animals to ever walk on land. But a stunningly complete skeleton within northern Zimbabwe offers a reminder these giantssome which reached masses greater than 60 tonhad somewhat more modest beginnings.

The newfound fossil, unveiled today in the journal Nature, may be the oldest definitive dinosaur discovered in Africa, dated for some 230 million years back, through the Triassic period. The pet is also among the earliest recognised ancestors to sauropods, the group which includes iconic long-necked giants such as for example Brachiosaurusand Brontosaurus. Despite the fact that the pet was nearing maturity when it died, experts estimate it could have been significantly less than two feet tall at the hip.

With a little head, a couple of leaf-shaped teeth, and a neck of modest length, its almost just like a generic dinosaur, in the event that you had a youngster draw a dinosaur and ensure it is not just a meat eater, says Chris Griffin, a paleontologist at Yale University who conducted the study while a Ph.D. candidate at Virginia Tech.

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