Scientists have discovered a new dinosaur with a heart-shaped bone in its tail.
The herbivorous dinosaur was discovered in Africa and is said to have lived 100 million years ago.
It was also extremely large when it came to Earth because the dinosaur was a member of the titanosaurs – a classification of the largest animals ever to live – and weighed up to 20 tons.
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The 30-foot dinosaur showed not only its size, but also another fascinating feature – heart-shaped bones in the tail.
The researchers called the dinosaur Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia from Swahili for "animal of Mtuka" and "heart-shaped tail" and joked that the animal "carried his heart on his tail".
The discovery of the remnants of dinosaurs found in a riverbed in the East African Rift system in Tanzania allows scientists to collect information on the evolution of African ecosystems during the Cretaceous.
Previously titanosaurs were identified in South America, but the new species discovered in Tanzania, Egypt and other parts of the African continent provide a more complete picture of their evolution.
Dr. Eric Gorscak, a graduate of Ohio University, current research associate and professor at Midwestern University, said of the new dinosaur, "Although titanosaurs became one of the most successful dinosaur groups before the notorious mass extinction of the epidemic limited dinosaurs, their early Evolutionary history remains dark.
"Mnyamawamtuka helps to tell these beginnings – especially for her African side of history."
The new dinosaur described in the magazine PLOS ONE is one of three new titanosaurs found in the area. Of the fossilized remains, Mnyamawamtuka is one of the most complete.
The fossilized bones of the dinosaur, first discovered in 2004 and excavated over the next five years, suggest that the animal also resembles another dinosaur, "Malawisaurus," which sits right on the border between Tanzania and Malawi, "said Dr Gorscak.
According to co-author dr. Patrick O & # 39; Connor, Professor of Anatomy at Ohio University, are the discoveries of the new dinosaurs "like a four-dimensional connection of points".
"Each new discovery adds a little more detail to the picture, as did the ecosystems in continental Africa during the Cretaceous, and gives us a more holistic view of past biotic change," he said.
Judy Skog, Program Director at the National Science Foundation's Geosciences Department, added, "There's also up-to-date information on a heart-shaped tailbone animal this Valentine's Day."
To dig out the remains, field-hung rope teams and large mechanical excavators were used on ropes.
"Without the involvement of several field teams – including members whose members had put on climbing equipment for the early excavations – the skeleton would have entered the river during fairly intense rainy periods in this part of the East African Rift system," said Dr. O & # 39; Connor said.
The researchers also discovered other animals in the East African trench, including relatives of early crocodiles and evidence of "insect-growing" from fossil termite nests as well as evidence of monkey and monkey evolution.
"Tanzanian history is far from over, but we know enough to ask what paleontological and geological similarities and similarities exist with nearby rock units," Dr. Gorscak Mnyamawamtuka and other discoveries, I am not sure to regard it as writing or reading the next chapters in the paleontological book of Africa. I'm just curious to see where this story will take us. "
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