Saturday, May 6, 2017

New Dinosaur Species: T-Rex Cousin Discovered in Moroccan Phosphate Mine

Pam Wright
Published: May 6,2017

A conceptual drawing of the newly discovered Chenanisaurus barbaricus.
(University of Bath)
Scientists have discovered a new species of dinosaurs in a northern Morocco phosphate mine, one of the last species of dinosaurs to live in Africa before dinosaurs were wiped out 66 million years ago.
According to Science Daily, researchers led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath studied the bones of the new species, named Chenanisaurus barbaricus, and discovered that it lived at the same time and was a smaller African cousin to the North American Tyrannosaurus rex.
"This species was part of the last dinosaur fauna, the last dinosaurs on Earth," lead author Nicholas Longrich of the University of Bath told IBTimes UK.
Longrich, along with researchers based in Morocco, France, and Spain, studied a rare fragment of the jaw bone discovered last year in the mines at Sidi Chennane in the Oulad Abdoun Basin, Morocco, and identified it as belonging to an abelisaur.
Nick Longrich of the University of Bath with the fossilized bones of the newly discovered dinosaur.
(University of Bath)
Abelisaurs were similar to the T-rex and other tyrannosaurs, although they had shorter, blunter snouts, and tiny, almost imperceptible, arms."This find was unusual because it's a dinosaur from marine rocks — it's a bit like hunting for fossil whales, and finding a fossil lion," Longrich said. "It's an incredibly rare find — almost like winning the lottery. But the phosphate mines are so rich, it's like buying a million lottery tickets, so we actually have a chance to find rare dinosaurs like this one."
Longrich said there are "virtually no dinosaur fossils from this time period in Morocco."
"It may even be the first dinosaur named from the end-Cretaceous in Africa," Longrich added. "It's also one of the last dinosaurs in Africa before the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. It's an exciting find because it shows just how different the fauna was in the Southern hemisphere at this time."
(MORE: Two New Horned Dinosaur Species Discovered)
Even more unusual, the dinosaur was found in marine rock, a highly unusual place to find a land-based dinosaur.
"These dinosaurs, when they're dead they're full of gasses. They float because they're buoyant, so they can get swept out to sea," Longrich said. "It could have been swept out in a river from flooding. Or it could have been at the beach and got swept out and drowned."
Details of the study were published in the journal Cretaceous Research.
MORE: Dinosaur National Monument

No comments:

Post a Comment