Paleontologists Unearth Oldest Ever Dinosaur Fossil, The Earliest One Known To Have Evolved
What was the earth like billions of years ago? What experts know is that dinosaurs roamed the land. They were the rulers in both the terrain and the skies. Experts had to dig up proof for their theories and they have begun connecting the dots.
While much is already known, there is yet so many secrets to uncover. Everything that they unearth counts because it provides these scientists a link to the past. This most recent discovery could also open new doors that shed light to how dinosaurs were.
Paleontologists have recently unearthed the remains of the oldest dinosaur ever found in Africa. In fact, this was one of the first ones to ever evolve. This may not seem like much to many because stories of long ago are difficult to comprehend. People need to see the very beginning. They need to know more about the dinosaurs’ nearly 200 million-year reign on this planet.
The researchers are putting some of their hopes in the fossil they found. This may be able to fill in critical gaps they have on record. What they found was a sauropod. This was found in northern Zimbabwe and is estimated to have been 6 feet long and with a long tail. As for its weight, it was anywhere from 20 to 65 pounds. They collected what they unearthed and was missing only some of the hand and parts of the skull.
“These are Africa’s oldest-known definitive dinosaurs, roughly equivalent in age to the oldest dinosaurs found anywhere in the world,” said Christopher Griffin. He is a graduate from VA Tech’s School of Geosciences, and member of the excavation. “The oldest known dinosaurs—from roughly 230 million years ago, the Carnian Stage of the Late Triassic period—are extremely rare and have been recovered from only a few places worldwide, mainly northern Argentina, southern Brazil, and India,” he added.
The Mbiresaurus raathi stood on two legs. It had a relatively small head just like their cousins. As for their teeth, it was small, serrated, triangle-shaped. This means that they could have been an herbivore or potentially an omnivore. Found alongside the fossils were a mix of Carnian-aged fossils. Included on the list of findings was a herrerasaurid dinosaur. They also uncovered early mammal relatives like cynodonts, armored crocodilian relatives such as aetosaurs, and, in Griffin’s words, “bizarre, archaic reptiles” known as rhynchosaurs. These were often found in South America and India from around a similar time period.
Aside from discovering the Mbiresaurus, the group of researchers from VA Tech, the Natural History Museum, and the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, also came up with a new theory when it comes to dinosaur migration. Included in their theory and answers for when and where this happened.
Africa is much like all the continents. This means that it was once part of the supercontinent that they called Pangea. As for its climate, they assumed that it was either strong humid and arid belts, with temperate belts that spanned the higher latitudes and intense deserts in its lower tropics.
Scientists had once assumed that these climate belts made an impact as well as contained the distribution of animals all across Pangea, explained Griffin.
“Because dinosaurs initially dispersed under this climatic pattern, the early dispersal of dinosaurs should therefore have been controlled by latitude,” Griffin said. The earliest forms of dinosaurs were kept in areas by climatic bands to southern Pangea. It was only in the latter part that they had spread out all across the world.
The teams from Zimbabwe’s scientific institutions showed excitement and pride by their new findings. “The discovery of the Mbiresaurus is an exciting and special find for Zimbabwe and the entire paleontological field,” said Michel Zondo. He is a curator and fossil preparer at The Natural History Museum.
“The fact that the Mbiresaurus skeleton is almost complete makes it a perfect reference material for further finds. It is the first sauropodomorph find of its size from Zimbabwe, otherwise most of our sauropodomorph finds from here are usually of medium to large sized animals,” he added.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!
True Activist / Report a typo