200-mn-year old dinosaur remains found in South Africa

Johannesburg, Nov 11 (IANS) 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 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, reported Xinhua.

According to Choineire, the remains belong 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 metre 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 to weight about 14 tonnes.

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.

 

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