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Thu Feb 14, 2019, 02:46 AM

Exceptional new titanosaur from middle Cretaceous Tanzania: Mnyamawamtuka

February 13, 2019

An exceptional sauropod dinosaur specimen from the middle Cretaceous of Tanzania represents a unique species and provides new insights into sauropod evolution, according to a study published February 13, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Eric Gorscak of Midwestern University, Illinois, and Patrick O'Connor of Ohio University, USA.

Titanosaurs were the most speciose and widespread group of sauropod dinosaurs, the largest terrestrial animals in Earth history. They reached their peak diversity in the Late Cretaceous after all other sauropod groups vanished, but their early evolution is poorly understood due to a scarcity of well-preserved titanosaur fossils from before the Late Cretaceous, especially outside of South America. In this study, the authors describe a newly-discovered middle Cretaceous titanosaur from southern Africa.

The researchers named the new dinosaur Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia. It is known from a single specimen excavated from a quarry along the Mtuka River in southwest Tanzania. It is one of the more complete titanosaur specimens known especially from Africa, preserving partial remains of every major body region, including numerous vertebrae, ribs, limb bones, and teeth. Its scientific name derives from Kishwahili (Swahili) words meaning "beast of the Mtuka" and "heart of the tail," referring respectively to the location it was found and to the uniquely heart-shaped centrum of its tail vertebrae.

Comparing Mnyamawamtuka to the known family tree of titanosaurs, the researchers conclude that this new species fits near the origin of a clade called Lithostrotia, which ultimately includes most Late Cretaceous titanosaur species. Mnyamawamtuka thus represents an early stage in the evolution of the greatest diversification of titanosaurs. This discovery also adds to evidence of a close relationship between the titanosaurs of southern Africa and South America, a link that was likely important in the evolution of Cretaceous ecosystems across southern continents.

More:
https://www.brightsurf.com/news/article/021319476227/exceptional-new-titanosaur-from-middle-cretaceous-tanzania-mnyamawamtuka.html



Mnyamawamtuka

Mnyamawamtuka: New dinosaur with heart-shaped tail provides evolutionary clues for African continent
February 13, 2019, Ohio University

Illustration depicting Mnyamawamtuka in its environmental setting. Credit: Mark Witton

A new dinosaur that wears its "heart" on its tail provides new clues to how ecosystems evolved on the African continent during the Cretaceous period according to researchers at Ohio University.

The OHIO team identified and named the new species of dinosaur in an article published this week in PLOS ONE. The new dinosaur, the third now described from southwestern Tanzania by the NSF-funded team, is yet another member of the large, long-necked titanosaur sauropods. The partial skeleton was recovered from Cretaceous-age (~100 million years ago) rocks exposed in a cliff surface in the western branch of the great East African Rift System.

The new dinosaur is named Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia (Mm-nya-ma-wah-mm-too-ka mm-oh-yo-wa-mm-key-ah), a name derived from Swahili for "animal of the Mtuka (with) a heart-shaped tail" in reference to the name of the riverbed (Mtuka) in which it was discovered and due to the unique shape of its tail bones.

The initial discovery of Mnyamawamtuka took place in 2004, when part of the skeleton was discovered high in a cliff wall overlooking the seasonally dry Mtuka riverbed, with annual excavations continuing through 2008."Although titanosaurs became one of the most successful dinosaur groups before the infamous mass extinction capping the Age of Dinosaurs, their early evolutionary history remains obscure, and Mnyamawamtuka helps tell those beginnings, especially for their African-side of the story," said lead author Dr. Eric Gorscak, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Ohio University, current research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) and new assistant professor at the Midwestern University in Downers Grove, just outside of Chicago. "The wealth of information from the skeleton indicates it was distantly related to other known African titanosaurs, except for some interesting similarities with another dinosaur, Malawisaurus, from just across the Tanzania-Malawi border," noted Dr. Gorscak.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-02-mnyamawamtuka-dinosaur-heart-shaped-tail-evolutionary.html#jCp



Scientists dig for fossils in the dry Mtuka riverbed in Tanzania.

Just in time for Valentine's Day: Newly discovered dinosaur had heart-shaped tail
Doyle Rice, USA TODAY Published 2:00 p.m. ET Feb. 13, 2019 | Updated 5:31 p.m. ET Feb. 13, 2019

There have been dinosaurs with feathers, "baby dragon" ones and even dinos that looked like ducks. Now, just in time for Valentine's Day, scientists say they've discovered a dinosaur that had a heart-shaped tail.

Not just a novelty act, this new dinosaur – which scientist say wears its “heart” on its tail – provides new clues as to how ecosystems evolved in Africa, a new study suggests.

The new dinosaur is "a unique species and provides new insights into sauropod evolution," the study said.

Sauropods were the largest land animals in Earth's history. Other well-know sauropods include Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus.

More:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/02/13/valentines-day-surprise-new-dinosaur-had-heart-shaped-tail/2859234002/

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Reply Exceptional new titanosaur from middle Cretaceous Tanzania: Mnyamawamtuka (Original post)
Judi Lynn Thursday OP
eppur_se_muova Thursday #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Feb 14, 2019, 05:25 PM

1. Apatosaurus AND Brontosaurus ? Um, better check on that. ;) nt

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