Gi­ant di­nosaur species dis­cov­ered in S. Africa

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - FRONT PAGE - Doyle Rice

Fos­sils of a new, gi­ant species of di­nosaur have been dis­cov­ered in South Africa, a study pub­lished Thurs­day re­ports. The crea­ture, which lived some 200 mil­lion years ago, was about twice the size of a mod­ern-day African ele­phant. It was also the largest land an­i­mal on the planet at that time, ac­cord­ing to the study.

Known by Latin name Le­duma­hadi ma­fube, it weighed over 26,000 pounds and stood about 13 feet high at the hips.

Although it isn’t the big­gest di­nosaur ever found, “it’s the first true gi­ant that evolves in a long line of di­nosaurs called sauro­pod di­nosaurs,” said study co-au­thor Jonah Choiniere, a pa­le­on­tol­o­gist at the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand.

Sau­ropods in­clude species like the bron­tosaurus. Thus, this part of South Africa was the ori­gin of all gi­ant di­nosaurs that evolved later, Choiniere said.

The new dino is a close rel­a­tive of other mas­sive di­nosaurs from Ar­gentina that lived around the same time, re­in­forc­ing the idea that the su­per­con­ti­nent Pan­gaea was still as­sem­bled then.

The study was pub­lished in the peer­re­viewed jour­nal Cur­rent Bi­ol­ogy.

VIK­TOR RADERMACHER

An artist’s con­cep­tion imag­ines what the newly dis­cov­ered di­nosaur species Le­duma­hadi ma­fube might have looked like.

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