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‘Holy Grail’ Discovery Of New Dinosaur Species Solves An Ancient Mystery

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a writer, native New Yorker, TV enthusiast, and dog mom to Hobbes.

The discovery of a new species of dinosaur has rocked the scientific community.

According to CNN, the plant-eating dinosaur has been named Mansourasaurus shahinae. It was reportedly the length of a school bus and about the weight of an elephant (around five tons). The huge, extinct creature is classified within the Titanosauria group of dinosaurs, which includes the largest land animals ever known to exist.

Of particular note is what the discovery revealed about the evolution of dinosaurs in various parts of the world.

Gizmodo reports that the fossilized remains (dating back approximately 80 million years) were found by vertebrate paleontology scientists from Mansoura University in Egypt. The team, which was led by Hesham Sallam, has said that the Mansourasaurus (discovered in Egypt’s Western Desert) is “the most complete specimen of a Cretaceous-era dinosaur ever discovered in Africa.” In general, paleontologists have not found many fossilized dinosaur remains on the continent.

According to a study published by the team on January 29, 2018, the new discovery importantly uncovers similarities between the Mansourasaurus and other Late Cretaceous era titanosaurs in Europe and Asia.

In fact, the researchers concluded that the Mansourasaurus is more closely related to European and Asian dinosaurs than to those found further south on the African continent or those in South America. This suggests that at least some of the dinosaurs could move between Africa and Europe (after Earth’s one supercontinent, Pangaea, had already split apart). “Africa’s last dinosaurs weren’t completely isolated, contrary to what some have proposed in the past,” Dr. Eric Gorscak, a postdoctoral research scientist at the Field Museum and a contributing author on the study, said in a statement. “There were still connections to Europe.”

“When I first saw pics of the fossils, my jaw hit the floor. This was the Holy Grail — a well-preserved dinosaur from the end of the Age of Dinosaurs in Africa — that we paleontologists had been searching for for a long, long time,”  said co-author and paleontologist Dr. Matt Lamanna (of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History) in the same statement.

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Photo: Carnegie Museum of Natural History / Andrew McAfee

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