New Giant Sauropod – Angolatitan – Ancient Fish Food

By | March 17th, 2011|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page|0 Comments

Scientists Announce Discovery of a New Sauropod Species

As Angola is opened up to permit exploration of its diverse geology, so scientists are being given the opportunity to study the fossilised remains of the ancient flora and fauna of this huge African country.  Angola is perhaps one of the last places on Earth that has yet to be fully explored in terms of its geology and this has led to a number of new prehistoric animal discoveries, the latest of which is the formal announcement of a new giant Sauropod species.

The new dinosaur, a member of the Sauropoda (long-necked dinosaurs) has been named Angolatitan adamastor.  The name means “Angola giant”, the species name refers to a mythical sea creature from Portuguese legend.  Although, only a partial forelimb has been found to date, scientists are confident that this creature represents a new species of Sauropod.

Team members at Everything Dinosaur wrote an article outlining the possibilities of many new dinosaur discoveries from this African country, to read this article and to learn more about the work being undertaken in Angola by palaeontologists: Angola Starts to Share its Fossil Secrets

The paper on this new species of herbivorous dinosaur, the latest titan to be found in Africa was published in the scientific journal “The Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Science”.  The fossilised bones, longer than an adult man, were found in marine strata dating from approximately 90 million years ago (Turonian faunal stage).  Scientists think that the carcase of this animal was washed out to sea and its body was scavenged by marine reptiles and predatory fish such as sharks.  Indeed, a number of fish bones and shark teeth were found in association with the fossil dinosaur bones.

An Illustration of Angolatitan on the African Cretaceous Shoreline

Picture Credit: Associated Press

Commenting on the naming of this new species, Matthew Bonnan, a Sauropod expert at Western Illinois University (United States) stated that the research team’s claim to have discovered a new species is entirely justified.

Dr. Bonnan said:

“I think they’ve been very careful, the more people and places that we involve in science, the better off we all are.”

The Reconstructed Forelimb of the Giant Sauropod

Limb bones of Giant Sauropod

Picture Credit: News Source AP

The picture above shows palaeontologist Octavio Mateus who has been prominent in an number of important Angolan excavations, standing next to the scapula and the humerus of this new giant dinosaur providing scale.

He went onto add how this new discovery could help palaeontologists understand how Sauropods adapted to different environments stating that it was “really cool” to see research coming out of Angola.  Given the huge size of this country and the early reports from palaeontologists we have received about other dinosaur hunting “hot spots”, it is very likely that many more new dinosaur genera will be discovered.