230 million years old Africa’s oldest dinosaur discovered

(ORDO NEWS) — What is doubly pleasant, the skeleton of the animal is remarkably preserved. Other excavations have also begun next to it, which indicate that paleontologists still have many other valuable finds ahead.

In the late Triassic period, a single land mass called Pangea began to gradually split into continents.

Approximately 230 million years ago, a herbivorous dinosaur died in the southern part of what was then the only continent. It was about the size of a modern large dog.

Paleontologists were lucky that he died on the banks of the river, after the spill of which his body was carefully buried under layers of sedimentary rocks.

As a result, after millions of years, scientists found the remains in a state where some bones were still articulated, as in the life of an animal.

Paleontologists were the first to notice a dinosaur femur sticking out of a hill in the Cabora Bassa River basin in what is now Zimbabwe.

As soon as the fossil was removed from the ground, scientists realized that they must be holding Africa’s oldest dinosaur.

However, in 2012, researchers found the remains of a 243 million-year-old dinosaur in Tanzania. True, perhaps, over time, scientists recognized that dating as incorrect.

In the weeks following the first discovery, paleontologists dug up the skeleton almost entirely. It turned out that this is a new species of early dinosaurs, which was given the name Mbiresaurus raathi.

A small dinosaur, whose length in life was about 1.8 meters, is of great importance for the history of the early distribution of terrible pangolins. Scientists knew little about Africa’s earliest dinosaurs, so the new discovery is of particular interest.

So far, the earliest known dinosaurs, also living on Earth about 230 million years ago, have been found only in Argentina and Brazil, with the exception of a few fragmentary specimens from India.

Speaking of fragmentary remains, the research team also discovered bone fragments in Zimbabwe of a large carnivorous dinosaur of the herrerasaurid family, the first in Africa.

In addition, scientists have stumbled upon many fossils of other animals: cynodonts, which include a number of mammals, ethosaurs, armored relatives of crocodiles, and the extinct reptiles of rhynchosaurs.

Previously, paleontologists have found similar creatures in the same climatic zone in South America and India.

Taken together, all these fossils provide strong evidence that the earliest dinosaurs and related animals lived in a temperate climate zone bordering on arid.

Dinosaurs did not spread beyond their temperate oasis for several million years. Subsequently, dry areas in the north and south became wetter, which contributed to the settlement of dinosaurs in other latitudes.

Such an important and rare find provides a long-awaited boost to science in Zimbabwe, and the authors of the paper hope that this will help raise more funds for research on the Black Continent. The new discovery clearly demonstrates that there are unique “deposits” of fossils in the country.


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