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Lost history of African dinosaurs revealed



Jan 30, 2018

A new species of dinosaur found in the Egyptian desert is shedding light on Africa’s missing history of dinosaurs.

Few fossils have been unearthed from the last days of the dinosaurs, between 100 and 66 million years ago, on the continent.

Scientists say the dinosaur, which lived about 80 million years ago, is an “incredible discovery”.

The giant plant-eater was the length of a school bus and weighed about the same as an elephant.

It had a long neck and bony plates embedded in its skin.

The dinosaur’s fossilized remains were unearthed during an expedition by paleontologists from Mansoura University in Egypt.

Named Mansourasaurus shahinae, the new species is regarded as a critical discovery for science.

“It was thrilling for my students to uncover bone after bone, as each new element we recovered helped to reveal who this giant dinosaur was,” said Dr Hesham Sallam of Mansoura University, who led the research.

He said he expected the pace of discovery to accelerate in the years to come.

The course of dinosaur evolution in Africa has remained much of a mystery for the last 30 million years or so of the reign of the dinosaurs.

Study co-researcher Dr. Matt Lamanna of Carnegie Museum of Natural History said that his jaw “hit the floor” when he first saw pictures of the fossils.

“This was the Holy Grail,” he said. “A well-preserved dinosaur from the end of the Age of Dinosaurs in Africa that we paleontologists had been searching for for a long, long time.”

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