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Scientists unearth fossils of titanosaur that lived about 80 million years ago

Scientists unearth fossils of titanosaur that lived about 80 million years ago

Paleontologists at Mansoura University in Egypt discovered the Mansourasaurus fossils in the Sahara in 2013.

Dubbed Mansourasaurus shahinae, the ancient beast was a type of titanosaur, a group of sauropod (long-necked plant-eating) dinosaurs.

Fossils can offer insights into the timeline of Pangea's breakup, which is why the dearth of African dinosaurs fossils has frustrated scientists.

Researchers that studied these fossilized remains confirmed that these dinosaurs were from the Cretaceous Period that was tagged with the name Mansourasaurus shahinae. It's the most complete dinosaur skeleton from that time period found in that area, with fossil fragments including parts of the skull, lower jaw, neck and back vertebrae, ribs, shoulders, forelimbs, hind foot and dermal plates.

It might not be the most exciting new dinosaur, but thanks to the drought of African fossils from this time period, its discovery is giving researchers plenty of reason to take notice.

Mansourasaurus, be that as it may, was moderately little for a titanosaur, and about the heaviness of an African bull elephant. This indicates that some dinosaurs could move between North Africa and southern Europe at the end of the mesozoic, said paleontologist Matt Lamana of the Carnegie Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh.

It has not been clear how very much associated Africa was to other Southern Hemisphere landmasses and Europe amid this time and to what degree Africa's creatures may have been sliced off from their neighbors to develop along their own different lines.

"It was - I don't really exaggerate - it was like seeing the Holy Grail of dinosaurs", Lamanna said. It lived during the post-Cenemonian Cretaceous, around 94-66 million years ago, an era from which fossils are rare and often broken into bits. This particular dinosaur flaunted a really long neck with four legs and a size similar to the bus we see today. Whether Northern Africa was still connected to Europe was unknown, but by analyzing some of the bone features, the team determined that Mansourasaurus was more closely related to European and Asian dinosaurs than others in Africa or South America.

The research team published their findings on Mansourasaurus shahinae Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. "Africa's last dinosaurs weren't completely isolated". "There were still connections to Europe", Eric Gorscak, a postdoctoral research scientist at the Field Museum and a contributing author on the study, explained. "It's like finding an edge piece that you use to help figure out what the picture is, that you can build from", Gorscak said in a press release.

Remarking on the investigation, Dr Philip Mannion of Imperial College, London, stated, "This is only a hint of a greater challenge - it focuses to the way that Africa can possibly uncover a considerably wealthier fossil record".

Researchers say that the dig in Egypt, which now includes vertebrate paleontologists, is just getting started and that they are expecting to discover more fossils in the years to come.

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