November 11, 2009

Paleontologists Find New Dinosaur Species In South Africa

Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of a new dinosaur species in South Africa.

Experts say Aardonyx Celestae roamed the Earth about 197 million years ago and is probably an ancestor to the brontosaurus.

A team of post-graduate students from Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg made the discovery during a dig in the central Free State province of South Africa.

"We knew that there were likely to be some fossils in these bone beds... but we did not expect to find anything of this magnitude," said paleontologist Adam Yates, who supervised the discovery.

The team uncovered a 23-foot herbivore with a large chest. The creature was likely to have roamed the Earth on two hind legs, although it has the ability to walk on all fours.

"It had flattened feet with large claws that supported its body weight on the inside of the foot and a robust thigh for supporting weight," said Yates.

Yates said the species is one "that no one has seen before and one that has a very significant position in the family tree of dinosaurs."

"This new dinosaur is helping us complete and revise our picture of how the truly giant dinosaurs first got going," he added.

The team published their findings in the Proceedings of The Royal Society B.


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