Discovery of earliest known dinosaur

The scientists had made an amazing discovery of earliest known dinosaur that may have walked on the earth. This dinosaur named as Nyasasaurus parringtoni is more than ten million years old than previously discovered dinosaurs. It is believed to have walked upright on two legs and feed on small insects and plants. The  researchers found the fossil specimen of this dinosaur that has been in the London’s Natural History Museum’s collection for decades that has now been identified as most likely belongs to the dinosaur that lived about 245 million years ago about 10-15 millions earlier than any previously discovered fossils.

The creature is about the size of a Labrador dog and slight of build with a five-foot long tail and most likely walked upright on two legs. The rib cage of this dinosaur consisted of only few ribs and arm bones to go on and therefore, scientists are not sure about the eating habits of this dinosaur. The name of this dinosaur had been named after Southern Africa’s Lake Nyasa, which at present is known as Lake Malawi, and the Cambridge University’s Rex Parrington – well-known and most distinguished vertebrate paleontologists and comparative anatomists of his generation – who collected this specimen at a site near the lake in the 1930’s

The researchers at the Natural History Museum had gradually examined these fossilized bones that were collected during Cambridge University expedition to Tanzania over these decades. Noted paleontologist Alan Charig of the National History Museum was examining these fossils. The fossil of this dinosaur was studied in the 1950’s but no concrete evidence or conclusion emerged and therefore nothing was published about this fossil. The researchers believe that Nyasasaurus probably stood upright and was a meter tall at the hip and about 2-3 meters long from head to tail and weighed about 20-60 kg.

When this dinosaur was alive, the world’s continents were joined like a large land mass called Pangaea and the area of Tanzania where the fossils were found would have been part of the southern Pangaea which included Africa, South America, Australia and Antarctica. The bones of this animal reveal a number of characteristics common to early dinosaurs and their close relatives.

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