Paleontologists at Ohio University have reported discovery of a new species of dinosaurs in Tanzania. It’s a titanosaurian that thrived during the middle of the Cretaceous Period, about 100 million years ago. Scientists have named it Rukwatitan bisepultus. Fossils of the new species were spotted embedded in the Rukwa Rift Basin’s cliff wall in southwestern Tanzania.
This dinosaur species had some unique features
It’s one of the very few titanosaur specimens recovered from Africa. Most other titanosaur fossils have been found in other regions, mostly in South America. Scientists sought help of coal miners and professional excavators over the course of two field sessions to recover the vertebrae, limbs, ribs and pelvic bones. The image below shows the bones from different body parts of the dinosaur that were recovered during excavation.
Led by Eric Gorscak of Ohio University, scientists conducted a detailed analysis of fossils using traditional and computation approaches, including CT scans. The study revealed that this dinosaur had some unique features not present in any known fossils. It had some similarities with another titanosaurian Malawisaurus dixeyi, which was found in Malawi. But the two were different in several aspects.
Newly discovered dinosaur species weighed as much as several elephants
Eric Gorscak said his team was able to place it the family tree of sauropod dinosaurs. Sauropods were large-bodied dinosaurs with long necks and wide stance. They were herbivorous (plant-eating). Though the R. bisepultus was not among the largest dinosaurs, researchers estimate its front legs were more than six feet long. The animal could have weighed as much as several elephants. Findings of the study were published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology on Monday.
Last week, scientists discovered a new species of dinosaur in Argentina that weighed about 65 tons, much more than the weight of Boeing 737 jet. It had a 37-feet long neck, and its entire body was about 85 feet long. Notably, this species, Dreadnoughtus Schrani, also belongs in the titanosaur family.