Palaeontologists discovered an enormous dinosaur in Egypt and likely solved an ancient mystery. The dino, Mansourasaurus shahinae measured the size of a whole bus and was heavy about five tons, just like an elephant.
This fact makes it a member of a group of dinosaurs famous as the Titanosauria, which involves the largest land animals identified by now in earth science.
Scientists came upon this species in Egypt. Why is this so exceptional?
Most of the dinosaur bones in the last 250 years were found in Europe, North America and Asia.
Despite the fact scientists were excavating in Africa too, they didn’t have much luck with finding fossils in that area.
In one brief instant of the Earth’s evolution, the continents were all one big land, one supercontinent called Pangaea.
During the Cretaceous Period, they started breaking apart, achieving what we can see today.
What scientists are curious about is the following: While this was happening, how were the animals in Africa isolated and how were they growing in their own course?
Scientists said the fossils will help to close important holes regarding how dinosaurs evolved in this particular period.
The Mansourasaurus gave scientists some faith in finally answering all these questions.
Researchers uncovered the fossil remains in Sahara on an expedition by Hesham Sallam, of the geology department at Egypt’s Mansoura University. The Mansourasaurus had a long neck, ate plants and had bony layers in its skin.
Sallam’s crew ascertained that the Mansourasaurus has close connections with the dinosaur remains of Europe and Asia. On the contrary, it didn’t have such a strong correlation with the ones from South America or southern Africa.
Therefore, at least some dinosaurs could travel between Africa and Europe in the whole process. Africa’s latest dinosaurs weren’t completely alone, as some scientists previously suggested.
“Africa remains a giant question mark in terms of land-dwelling animals at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs”.
“Mansourasaurus helps us address long-standing questions about Africa’s fossil record and paleobiology — what animals were living there, and to what other species were these animals most closely related?” said in a statement Eric Gorscak, a postdoctoral research scientist at the Field Museum.
Gorscak added that there was much more to discover from the Mansourasaurus fossils.
“It’s like finding an edge piece that you use to help figure out what the picture is, that you can build from. Maybe even a corner piece.”
The new dinosaur Mansourasaurus notes there are still many astonishments to learn in the journey of understanding Earth’s past.