Rare find: 200-Mln-year-old dinosaur remains revealed in South Africa

2011-1112_Chasmosaurus_bellis2
But not this one pictured above the Chasmosaurus belli ROM 843, courtesy of Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. Late Cretaceous 75-74.5 millions years ago. Found at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, and prepared at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada.

The remains of a 200-million-year-old dinosaur, believed to be the largest plant eating creature ever found, were revealed at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The dinosaur remains, yet to be named, were found at a border area between South Africa and Lesotho, said Dr Jonah Choineire, a senior researcher at the Evolutionary Studies Institute in the university.

The researcher said the discovery was the work of many people including students.

According to Choineire, the remains belongs to a huge plant eater or “Highland Giant” and is the largest animal ever found in the region.

“To date, the greatest part of the Highland Giant to be discovered was a thigh-bone,” he added.

A complete femur of the Highland Giant would measure a meter long. Large ulna, vertebrae and claw pieces of the animal were also found, said Choineire.

“This is the stuff we haven’t published yet and it will be coming out in a year or two,” he said, adding that the dinosaur was estimated at about 14 tons.

The discovery shows that South Africa is a land that was once inhabited by dinosaurs, said James Pinner, a history student at the University of Witwatersrand.

“As a South African in general and scientist in particular I’m happy with this discovery. We’re in for one of the greatest periods of discovery in this field,” said Tim Rose, a University of Johannesburg science lecturer.

Two months ago, a team of scientists and researchers, led by Wits University professor Lee Berger, unearthed a new species with human-like features called Homo Naledi in the world’s richest hominin fossil site, the Cradle of Humankind not far from Johannesburg. (PNA)

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