Thursday , June 24 2021

The new heart-shaped dinosaur gives evolutionary clues to the African continent


IMAGE: This is an illustration depicting Mnyamawamtuka in the environment.
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Sincerely: Mark Viton

Athens, Ohio (February 13, 2018) – A new dinosaur that carries its "heart" on its tail gives new insights into how ecosystems are developing on the African continent during the chalk, according to researchers from Ohio State University.

The OHIO team identified and named the new species of dinosaur in an article published this week in 2008. PLOS ONEThe New Dinosaur, the third one now described by Southwest Tanzania by the team funded by the NSF, is another member of the big, long-lived Titanozavs. The partial skeleton was restored by rocky epochs (~ 100 million years ago) exposed on a rock surface in the western branch of the great East African Tearing System.

The new dinosaur is baptized Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia (Mm-nya-ma-wah-mm-too-ka mm-oh-yo-wa-mm-key-ah), a name derived from Swahili for a & quot; in the name of the riverbed (Mtuka), in which it was discovered due to the unique shape of its tail bones.

The initial discovery of Mnyamawamtuka took place in 2004, when part of the skeleton was found high in a rock wall looking at the seasonally dry bed of the Mtuka River, with annual excavations continuing until 2008.
"Although Titanozas have become one of the most successful groups of dinosaurs before the infamous mass extinction covering the era of dinosaurs, their early evolutionary history remains obscure and Mnyamawamtuka helped to uncover these principles, especially for their African side of history, "said lead author Dr. Eric Gorskak, a recent PhD student at Ohio State University, a current research fellow at the Natural History Museum (Chicago) and a new assistant at the University Midwest in Downers Grove, just outside Chicago. "The wealth of information from the skeleton shows that it was remotely related to other well-known African Titanos, except for some interesting resemblance to another dinosaur, Malavisaver, from just in Tanzania. "The border of Malawi," said Dr. Gorschak.

Titanozas are the most famous of the rocks in South America, but other team efforts include new species found in Tanzania, Egypt and other parts of the continent that reveal a more complex picture of the evolution of dinosaurs on the planet. – The discovery of dinosaurs Mnyamawamtuka and others we recently discovered is like making four-dimensional binding points, "said Dr. Patrick O'Connor, an Ohat University professor of anatomy, and Gorkak's counselor during his doctoral research. Every new discovery adds a little more detail about the picture of what ecosystems in continental Africa have been during Cretaceous, which allows us to gather a more holistic view of the biotic change in the past.

The excavation process spanned many years and included field hooks and large mechanical excavators to restore one of the more complete specimens of this part of the dinosaur family tree. "Without the dedication of several field teams, including some whose members wore early excavation facilities, the skeleton would erode in the river during a rather intense wet season in this part of the East African Tearing System," adds O'Connor. ,

"This latest discovery is another wonderful example of how researchers at Ohio State University are working around the world for research," said Ohio State University President Douene Nellis. "This team has discovered a number of remarkable discoveries that together make a significant contribution to our understanding of the natural world."

Mnyamawamtuka and the other Tanzanian Titanos are not the only animals discovered by the research team. In recent years, remnants of strange relatives of early crocodiles, the oldest evidence of insect breeding and surprising evidence of early evolution of monkeys and monkeys have been found. Similar findings from the East African Fault provide a critical insight into the ancient ecosystems of Africa and give impetus to future work elsewhere on the continent.

"This new dinosaur gives us important information about African fauna during evolutionary changes," says Judy Skog, Program Director at the Earth Sciences Department of the National Science Foundation that funded the study. "The discovery offers insights into paleogeography during the chalk, and it is also timely information on an animal with heart-shaped tail bones during this Valentine's week."

Recent discoveries by the Rukwa Rift research team include:

"The history of Tanzania is far from over, but we know enough to ask what are the paleontological and geological similarities and differences with the nearby rock units." Malawi's second visit is my top priority in dealing with these wider regional issues, said Gorskak. in current projects in Egypt and Kenya. "С Mnyamawamtuka and other discoveries, I am not sure to consider it as writing or reading the following chapters in the paleontological book of Africa. I'm just excited to see where this story will take us.


Photos / artistic visualizations of Mnyamawamtuka can be found here.

The study is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Jurassic Foundation, the Paleontological Society, the Ohio University Award, Ohio University, Ohio University, Osteopathic Medicine and Ohio State University. Vice President of Research and Creative Activities.

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