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Meet Africa’s OLDEST known dinosaur! Long-necked creature roamed Zimbabwe 230 million years ago

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A long-necked dinosaur with serrated teeth and a long tail roamed Zimbabwe 230 million years ago, new fossil analysis has revealed.

The dinosaur, named Mbiresaurus raathi, was about six feet long and weighed somewhere between 20 and 65 pounds, and is the oldest dinosaur found in Africa to date.

“The discovery of Mbiresaurus raathi fills a crucial geographic gap in the fossil record of the oldest dinosaurs and demonstrates the power of hypothesis-driven fieldwork for testing predictions about the distant past,” said Dr. Christopher Griffin of the Virginia Tech College of Science. .

‘These are Africa’s oldest known definitive dinosaurs, roughly the same age as the oldest dinosaurs found anywhere in the world.

“The oldest known dinosaurs – from about 230 million years ago, the Carnian stage of the Late Triassic period – are extremely rare and have been found only in a few places worldwide, mainly in northern Argentina, southern Brazil and India.”

A long-necked dinosaur with serrated teeth and a long tail roamed Zimbabwe 230 million years ago, new fossil analysis has revealed (artist’s impression pictured)

Meet Mbiresaurus raathi

clade: Sauropodomorph

Length: 6 ft

Weight: 20-65lbs

to walk: On two legs

Teeth: Small, serrated, triangular

eating pattern: Herbivore or omnivore

The skeleton of Mbiresaurus raathi was found in northern Zimbabwe, containing only parts of its hand and parts of its skull.

dr. Sterling Nesbitt, an author of the study, said: “Early dinosaurs such as Mbiresaurus raathi show that early dinosaur evolution is still described with each new find and that dinosaur emergence was much more complicated than previously predicted.”

An analysis of the fossilized remains indicates that Mbiresaurus stood on two legs and had a relatively small head, with small, serrated, triangular teeth.

This suggests it was likely an herbivore or an omnivore, according to Dr. Griffin.

“We never expected to find such a complete and well-preserved dinosaur skeleton,” said Dr. Griffin.

‘When I found Mbiresaurus’ femur, I immediately recognized it as belonging to a dinosaur and knew I was holding the oldest dinosaur ever found in Africa.

“When I kept digging and found the left hip bone right next to the left femur, I had to stop and breathe — I knew a lot of the skeleton was probably there, still articulated together in attitude to life.”

The skeleton of Mbiresaurus raathi was found in northern Zimbabwe, containing only parts of the hand of the tits and parts of the skull

The skeleton of Mbiresaurus raathi was found in northern Zimbabwe, containing only parts of the hand of the tits and parts of the skull

In addition to Mbiresaurus, the researchers found a range of other fossils, including a herrerasaurid dinosaur, early mammal relatives such as cynodonts, armored crocodile-like relatives such as aetosaurs and “bizarre, archaic reptiles” known as rhynchosaurs.

They hope the findings will shed light on the timing and location of early dinosaur migrations.

When the Earth’s continents were one — a supercontinent known as Pangea — the climate was thought to be divided into climatic belts, which influenced the distribution of animals.

The latitudes were thought to have a highly humid and arid climate, while higher latitudes and lower tropics were more moderate.

“Since dinosaurs initially spread under this climate pattern, the early distribution of dinosaurs should therefore have been controlled by latitude,” explained Dr. Griffin out.

An analysis of the fossilized remains indicates that Mbiresaurus stood on two legs and that its head was relatively small, with small, serrated, triangular teeth

An analysis of the fossilized remains indicates that Mbiresaurus stood on two legs and that its head was relatively small, with small, serrated, triangular teeth

In addition to Mbiresaurus, the researchers found a range of other fossils, including a herrerasaurid dinosaur, early mammal relatives such as cynodonts, armored crocodile-like relatives such as aetosaurs and

In addition to Mbiresaurus, the researchers found a range of other fossils, including a herrerasaurid dinosaur, early mammal relatives such as cynodonts, armored crocodile-like relatives such as aetosaurs and “bizarre, archaic reptiles” known as rhynchosaurs.

“The oldest dinosaurs are known from about the same ancient latitudes along the southern temperate belt at the time, about 50 degrees south.”

The researchers purposely focused on northern Zimbabwe, as it fell along this climatic belt, bridging the divide between southern Brazil and India during the late Triassic.

“The discovery of Mbiresaurus is an exciting and special find for Zimbabwe and the entire paleontological field,” said Michel Zondo, curator and fossil preparer at the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe.

‘The fact that the skeleton of Mbiresaurus is almost complete makes it a perfect reference material for further finds.

‘It is the first sauropodomorph find of its size from Zimbabwe, otherwise most of our sauropodomorph finds from here are mostly medium to large animals.’

HOW DID THE DINOSAURS SET OUT ABOUT 66 MILLION YEARS AGO?

Dinosaurs ruled and dominated the Earth about 66 million years ago, before suddenly becoming extinct.

The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event is the name given to this mass extinction.

For years it was believed that the changing climate was destroying the food chain of the huge reptiles.

In the 1980s, paleontologists discovered a layer of iridium.

This is an element that is rare on Earth, but found in large quantities in space.

When dated, it coincided exactly with when the dinosaurs disappeared from the fossil record.

A decade later, scientists discovered the massive Chicxulub crater on the tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, which dates back to the period in question.

Scientific consensus now says that these two factors are linked and that they were both likely caused by a huge asteroid that crashed into Earth.

At the projected magnitude and impact speed, the collision would have created a massive shock wave and likely triggered seismicity.

The precipitation would have created plumes of ash that likely covered the entire planet and made it impossible for dinosaurs to survive.

Other animal and plant species had shorter time spans between generations that allowed them to survive.

There are several other theories as to what caused the demise of the famous animals.

An early theory was that small mammals ate dinosaur eggs, and another holds that poisonous angiosperms (flowering plants) killed them.

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