70M year old dinosaur skeleton has been found in Tanzania! Shingopana (Swahili – wide neck) Songwensis. Glad they gave it an African name ❤️ pic.twitter.com/bcvvv4iDAr
— Ulrich J van Vuuren (@UlrichJvV) August 29, 2017
A new species of titanosaur has been unveiled in southwest Tanzania.
The titanosaur, named Shingopana songwensis, existed in the Cretacious Period — some 70 to 100 million years ago.
This first portion of the skeleton was unearthed in 2002 by the Rukwa Rift Basin Project; It took several more years to carefully uncover neck vertebrae, ribs, a humerus, and part of the jaw.
While titanosaur fossils are found worldwide, finding them in Africa is relatively rare; Those in South America are the most well-known. Surprisingly, this particular species was more closely related to titanosaurs in South American than those in Africa.
— Conservative (@Monotata) August 28, 2017
Lead author of the paper and paleontologist Eric Gorscak explained, “There are anatomical features present only in Shingopana and in several South American titanosaurs, but not in other African titanosaurs. Shingopana had siblings in South America, whereas other African titanosaurs were only distant cousins.”
Judy Skog, program director of NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences added, “This discovery suggests that the fauna of northern and southern Africa were very different in the Cretaceous Period. At that time, southern Africa dinosaurs were more closely related to those in South America, and were more widespread than we knew.”
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Featured image: Facebook