A team of scientists from South Africa discovered the fossilized remains of the largest dinosaur that walked on Earth in the Jurassic period. Accordingly, this enormous dinosaur roamed Earth 200 million years ago and was the most massive creature on our planet at that time.
According to the scientists, this ancient reptile weighed more than 12 tons and was over two times larger than the African elephant. The discovery was made in South Africa’s Free State Province, and a report on this finding was published in today’s Current Biology journal. Named Ledumahadi mafube, which means “giant thunderclap at dawn,” the most massive dinosaur that walked on Earth in Jurassic period measured 4 meters in height.
“The name reflects the great size of the animal as well as the fact that its lineage appeared at the origins of sauropod dinosaurs,” said Professor Jonah Choiniere from the University of the Witwatersrand.
The largest dinosaur that walked on Earth might be the ancestor of sauropods
Sauropods represent even bigger dinosaurs that could reach 60 tons. However, they appeared later than Jurassic, so the scientists consider that the recently-discovered largest dinosaur that walked on Earth in Jurassic was nothing else than the ancestor of gigantic dinosaurs.
“It shows us that even as far back as 200 million years ago, these animals [dinosaurs] had already become the largest vertebrates to ever walk the Earth,” Choiniere added.
“The first thing that struck me about this animal is the incredible robustness of the limb bones. It was of similar size to the gigantic sauropod dinosaurs, but whereas the arms and legs of those animals are typically quite slender, Ledumahadi’s are incredibly thick,” also said Dr. Blair McPhee, the study’s author.
“It was also interesting to see that the bone tissues display aspects of both basal sauropodomorphs and the more derived sauropods, showing that Ledumahadi represents a transitional stage between these two major groups of dinosaurs,” explained Dr. Jennifer Botha-Brink from the South African National Museum in Bloemfontein.
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