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A dinosaur as big as a bus found in Egypt's western desert

A dinosaur as big as a bus found in Egypt's western desert

The new find, he says, suggests the latter.

Dinosaurs were the dominant species (in the plural sense) on Earth for about 135 million years (they existed for another 30-40 million years before that), and were the largest-known land animals to have ever lived. That's why this new find by paleontologists working in Egypt is thrilling: it fills up what was an empty page in the continent's geological history.

Africa presents particular difficulties for palaeontologists because much of the land where fossils might be found is covered in thick foliage and vegetation, as opposed to exposed rock in the case of the Rocky Mountain region in the US and the Gobi Desert, for example, both of which have yielded large hauls over the years. The study of these fossils was led by a paleontologist named Hesham Sallam from the Mansoura University at Egypt.

"Mansourasaurus shahinae is a key new dinosaur species, and a critical discovery for Egyptian and African paleontology", said Eric Gorscak from The Field Museum in the US. The Mansourasaurus has proven instrumental in decoding this mystery, as the anatomical features of its bones are much more closely related to European and Asian dinosaurs than those from further south in Africa, or South America, showing that dinos were still moving between what we now know as separate continents during this period.

Dinosaur fossils from the end of the Cretaceous Period - 94-66million years ago and considered the final age of the dinosaurs - "are exceeding rare" in Africa, Lamanna wrote in a blog post.

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"No pun intended, my jaw did nearly literally hit the floor when I saw that", Lamanna, the principal dinosaur researcher at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, told The Washington Post. That's why it's so lucky that, on the northern end of the Nile, researchers found fossilized remains of a titanosaur, a long-necked, enormous dinosaur that stretched the length of a school bus.

The lower jaw bone of the new titanosaurian dinosaur, Mansourasaurus shahinae, as it was found.

During the Cretaceous Period, the continents began splitting apart and shifting towards the configuration that we see today.

"Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that Mansourasaurusis nested within a clade of penecontemporaneous titanosaurians from southern Europe and eastern Asia, thereby providing the first unambiguous evidence for a post-Cenomanian Cretaceous continental vertebrate clade that inhabited both Africa and Europe", says the study. For instance, if Africa still had land connections to Europe during the Cretaceous period, its animals would likely have similar anatomies to those on neighboring landmasses. "Maybe even a corner piece". "It's like finding an edge piece that you use to help figure out what the picture is, that you can build from". Unlike the exposed, rocky regions that make dinosaur hunting easy in the U.S. Rocky Mountains, the Gobi Desert in Mongolia or the Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile, much of the land in Egypt is covered with lush vegetation, making it hard for paleontologists to know where to dig (i.e.no bones poking out of the ground).

"What's exciting is that our team is just getting started", Sallam said.

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