New dinosaur species are the oldest dinosaur species found in Africa

Sauropods were truly giant dinosaurs that lived. this group One of the long-necked and four-legged herbivores, because the famous species Apatosaurus And the Brachiosaurusincluding biggest creatures to roam the planet. Some of them grew to more than 100 feet and weighed more than 80 tons. Paleontologists have now discovered one of the oldest members of this lineage of lumbering giants: a graceful, much smaller eat plants and animals Having rushed across the floodplains of prehistoric Zimbabwe.

The new dinosaur, described on Wednesday in temper natureknown as hereditary meperisaurus. The nickname refers to the Ember, a region in Zimbabwe where the fossil was discovered, and pays tribute to paleontologist Michael Rath, who first imprinted on fossils from the world. This creature is the oldest dinosaur but found in Africa, according to a report by Yale College paleontologist Christopher Griffin and colleagues—and it marks the early days of a lineage that might include traditional, ancestral dinosaurs. Diplodocus.

The discovery of the dinosaurs came from an attempt to find out how plants and animals were affected by local weather change during the Triassic period, between 252 million and 201 million years in the past. “Dinosaurs started spreading all over the world all this time,” Griffin says, with the oldest dinosaur residences typically discovered at sites that may have been at a similar latitude in Triassic South America and India. After Rath reported fossils of an equally young age in Zimbabwe, paleontologists went in search of more—and got even more than they expected. Griffin remembers that during one of these expeditions, he discovered what turned out to be his left femur in mperisaurus. “The femur is a kind of distinct bone that you can tell us right away it’s from a dinosaur, and as soon as I found out, I knew I was carrying the oldest definitive dinosaur that ever existed in Africa,” he says.

The newly discovered specimen, which was surprisingly full of a truly early dinosaur, belonged to a group referred to as sauropodomorphs. This is approximately 230 million years old mperisaurus It is represented by an almost complete skeleton, which has components of the skull, spine, components of both the entrance and the hind legs. “We’re actually only missing components for the palms, the ankle bone, and some components of the skull,” Griffin says.

Paleontologist Christopher Griffin holds the tailbone and the tip of the limb mperisaurus. Credit score: Christopher Griffin

The new dinosaur didn’t quite look like the miniature Apatosaurus, apart from being formidable among its well-known family members. mperisaurus He was only about 5 feet tall, and ran on two feet. All the identical and telltale traits within dinosaur bones closely resemble these of sauropodomorphs more closely than traits found in different dinosaur teams.

mperisaurus He lived at a time when the ancestors of the good sauropods were legendary small-legged carnivores that only had to change to an all-vegetarian eating system.

The evolutionary relationships among early dinosaurs are usually a contentious issue in paleontology. Named after a small dinosaur from Triassic Argentina Eoraptorfor example, was initially classified as a member of theropods – indeed an early ancestor of dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex—However it was later discovered as a sauropod. says paleontologist Diego Bol of the Egidio Firoglio Museum in Argentina, who reviewed the new research for temper nature However he was indirectly involved in the work. However, Paul notes, mperisaurus “It appears to be a really primitive sauropodomorph, very similar to the family members of the same age we all know from South America.”

the scientist mperisaurus Living in Cannes is very different from Earth as we all know it now. Much of the planet’s land mass was trapped within the supercontinent Pangea, and Zimbabwe was farther south and farther out from any ocean than it is now. Many of the animals that dinosaurs lived side by side were also very different, from primitive, gnawing-like mammals referred to as cynodonts to members of the armadillo-like family of crocodiles referred to as aetosaurs. The original habitat was probably a semi-arid place, where ferns, horsetails, and conifers rise along with streams and lakes – the sediments from which they are eventually buried. mperisaurus and its neighbours.

And dinosaurs couldn’t roam wherever they were happy all this time. state mperisaurus In the broader sample of how dinosaurs originated and spread around the world, Griffin and colleagues have come up with a case that suggests strong local climatic hurdles existed across the prehistoric equator. These scorching areas soon prevented the dinosaurs from moving across the Earth’s midline. Dinosaurs arose and began diversifying into the constituents of Southern Pangea and would only move north when these obstacles were lowered, leading to what Griffin and colleagues suggest were distinct stages of the dinosaurs’ worldwide spread. “This provides us with a glimpse into the dynamics of the Triassic world,” says Ball, when the age of reptiles was only beginning to be preserved.