Fossils could be of first dinosaur to roam planet



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Thursday 6 December 2012

Last update 6 December 2012 3:50 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

PARIS: Fossilized bones unearthed by a British palaeontologist in colonial Tanzania in the 1930s may be those of the oldest dinosaur ever found, researchers reported yesterday.
The bones are either those of the earliest dinosaur or of the closest relative of dinosaurs discovered to date, they said.
A denizen of the Middle Triassic around 243 million years ago, the creature predates all previous dinosaur finds by 10 to 15 million years, the scientists said.
The specimen also points to the possible birthplace of these enigmatic species in a mega-continent called Pangaea, they added.
Dubbed Nyasasaurus, the putative dino was about 80 centimeters (three feet) high, up to three meters (10 feet) in length and had a tail up to 1.5 meters (five feet) long, according to their study. It probably weighed between 20 and 60 kilos (45-135 pounds).
“If the newly-named Nyasasaurus parringtoni is not the earliest dinosaur, then it is the closest relative found so far,” said Sterling Nesbitt of the University of Washington.
Nyasasaurus’ name derives from Lake Nyasa — now called Lake Malawi — and from a University of Cambridge palaeontologist, Rex Parrington.
His team excavated the six vertebrae and upper arm bone from sediment in the Ruhuhu Valley of southern Tanzania in the early 1930s. That location, said the authors, backs theories that dinosaurs evolved in the southern portion of the supercontinent of Pangaea, where Earth’s land masses were glommed together before the pieces drifted apart to form continents. The southern part of Pangaea comprised Africa, Australia, South America and Antarctica.
For decades, the Nyasasaurus bones languished and were never formally documented.
Their true importance has only been made clear today, thanks in part to modern scanning technology which compared Parrington’s specimens in London’s Natural History Museum against two other Nyasasaurus bones at the South African Museum in Cape Town.
What makes the finds special is that they share many important features of dinosaur bones as well as imprinted traces of tissue showing that the creature grew rapidly, again a dino characteristic.
“For 150 years, people have been suggesting that there should be Middle Triassic dinosaurs, but all the evidence is ambiguous,” Nesbitt said.
“Some scientists used fossilized footprints, but we now know that other animals from that time have a very similar foot.
“Other scientists pointed to a single dinosaur-like characteristic in a single bone, but that can be misleading because some characteristics evolved in a number of reptile groups and are not a result of shared ancestry.”
The Triassic Period — between 252 and 201 million years ago — not only presided over the rise of the dinosaurs. It also saw the emergence of turtles, frogs, lizards and mammals.
If the new study is right, the reign of the dinosaurs was even more successful than thought.
The “giant lizards” spanned some 178 million years until their lineage was blotted out by an extinction event, presumed to be a giant space rock that whacked into the plant.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) on Tuesday said it is not against communication services and applications in the Kingdom, but telecom companies will have to respect the Kingdom’s rules and regulations.The teleco...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education (MoE) has allocated over 180 clinics for schools in Riyadh and directed all its departments across the Kingdom to recruit health advisers at schools with more than 100 students.Work has already started on introducing...
RIYADH: The Moroccan experience in desert tourism is largely similar to that of Saudi Arabia, which boasts of a unique diversity in culture in its different regions, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National...
JAZAN: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the advanced field hospital of the Armed Forces in Jazan on Tuesday.He was reassured about the injured in the ongoing battle. He conveyed the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King S...
JEDDAH: The planned “North Thunder” military exercise is a clear message to Iran and the countries in the region it supports that any hostile intentions and actions will be firmly dealt with, an expert has said.The military drill is scheduled to be h...
RIYADH: Syrian conjoined twins will be separated at the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh on Sunday.According to a KAMC spokesman, the forthcoming surgery will be the fourth and final st...
JEDDAH: Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa has issued an order to establish a department for school security. It will be be linked organizationally to the general supervisor of school safety and security at the ministry.According to the decision, schoo...
JEDDAH: From delivering mails for Saudi Aramco to captaining Saudi Arabian Airlines’ first flight to New York, Jazza Al-Shammari’s career story is unique.“I started my career as a postman with Saudi Aramco in 1959 and continued the primary studies at...
RIYADH: A team of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (KFSHRC) has identified a gene responsible for cardiomyopathy.Dr. Zuhair bin Nasser Al-Hasnan, KFSHRC medical genetics consultant, said the team conducted a study on a Saudi...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Welfare Society (PWS) organized a free medical camp and discussion on health for women at the Pakistani Consulate recently.Doctors and specialists diagnosed patients and distributed free medicines to needy patients, and arranged...
JEDDAH: Yemen Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah has thanked Saudi Arabia for standing by his country during tough times.Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday, he said: “Our GCC brothers, particularly Saudi Arabia, s...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia joined the rest of the world in intensifying public awareness on cancer with activities spread over the week supporting the global cause that aims to save millions of lives every year by raising awareness and education about the...
RIYADH: Chairman of ACWA Power International Mohammed Abu Nayyan thanked King Mohammed VI of Morocco for personally inaugurating Morocco’s first solar power plant, Noor1, built by an international consortium led by his company.“We were extremely priv...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health is considering imposing an asset declaration as well as an absence of interest conflict testimony on its employees as a measure in fighting corruption.Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih made the announcement at a one-day f...
DAMMAM: Abdussalam Kanniyan, chairman of the International Indian School in Dammam (IISD), has been honored with the “Person of the Year 2015” award by Vatakara NRI Forum, a community group in the Eastern Province.The award was based on his outstandi...

Stay Connected

Facebook