Bus-Size Dinosaur Remains Found in Egypt Reveals Key Insight Into Africa’s History

A team of paleontologists from Mansoura University under the supervision Dr. Hesham Sallam discovered a new species of dinosaur that lived about 80 million years ago.

The team, which includes four girls, named their discovery Mansourasaurus Shahinae after Mansoura University and Mona Shahin, a student who helped develop the Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology initiative in 2010 to educate Egyptian vertebrate paleontologists.

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Mansourasaurus was as tall as a school bus, weighed about the same as an elephant and had a long neck and bony plates embedded in its skin.The fossil was found in rock of the Cretaceous age Quseir formation in the Dakhla Oasis in the Egyptian Desert.

“Its remains […] are the most complete of any mainland African land vertebrate during an even larger time span, the roughly 30 million years before the dinosaur mass extinction 66 million years ago,” said paleontologist Hesham Sallam from Egypt’s Mansoura University, who was the leader of the published research in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, reports Reuters.

The lower jaw bone of the new dinosaur as it was found in rock in Egypt. Pic: Hesham Sallam, Mansoura University
The lower jaw bone of the new dinosaur as it was found in rock in Egypt. Pic: Hesham Sallam, Mansoura University

The researchers determined that Mansourasaurus was more closely related to dinosaurs from Europe and Asia than to those found further in south Africa or in South America that shows that at least some dinosaurs could move between Africa and Europe.

Mansourasaurus is considered a very important discovery as palaeontologists had been searching for a well-preserved dinosaur in Africa for a long time so, its skeleton is important in being the most complete dinosaur specimen so far discovered from the end of the Cretaceous in Africa. Parts of the skull, the lower jaw, neck and back vertebrae, ribs, most of the shoulder and forelimb, part of the hind foot, and pieces of dermal plates are preserved.

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