Rukwatitan Bisepultus: New species of dinosaur found in Tanzania

Paleontologists in Ohio have discovered a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur in Tanzania, a member of the large-bodied sauropods which thrived during the middle of the Cretaceous Period.

Updated: Sep 09, 2014, 16:14 PM IST
Rukwatitan Bisepultus: New species of dinosaur found in Tanzania
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Zee Media Bureau

Ohio: Paleontologists in Ohio have discovered a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur in Tanzania, a member of the large-bodied sauropods which thrived during the middle of the Cretaceous Period.

This dinosaur is named as Rukwatitan bisepultus and was first spotted by scientists embedded in a cliff wall in the Rukwa Rift Basin of southwestern Tanzania.

The team then unearthed the vertebrae, ribs, limbs and pelvic bones over the course of two field seasons using the help of professional excavators and coal miners. Further CT scans of the fossils, combined with detailed comparisons with other sauropods, revealed unique features that suggested an animal that was different from previous finds.

"Using both traditional and new computational approaches, we were able to place the new species within the family tree of sauropod dinosaurs and determine both its uniqueness as a species and to delineate others species with which it is most closely related," said lead author Eric Gorscak, a doctoral student in biological sciences at Ohio University.

Rukwatitan bisepultus lived approximately 100 million years ago, in the final period of the dinosaur age. Despite their large size, titanosaurian sauropods were herbivorous dinosaurs - recognisable by their long necks and wide stance. When alive, the herbivore probably weighed as much as several elephants and boasted front legs that were two meters long as told by the researchers.

(With Agency Inputs)