Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia Titanosaurian Dinosaur fossils recovered from East African Rift System.

Paleontologists in Tanzania have found fossil fragments from a new species of giant dinosaur that walked the Earth approximately 100 million years ago (Cretaceous period).

Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia in its environmental setting. Image credit: Mark Witton.

Yes, they named it Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia, this new find in the Tanzanian Territory of Mtuka could be a part of Titanosauria, a differing gather of sauropod dinosaurs that incorporates species extending from the biggest known earthly vertebrates to ‘dwarfs’ no bigger than elephants.

“Although titanosaurs got to be one of the foremost effective dinosaur groups sometime recently as 100 Million years ago the mass wipeout of dinosaurs by the meteor capping the Age of Dinosaurs, their early developmental history has largely remained unknown, and Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia makes a difference by bringing to light their early beginnings, particularly for their African-side of the story,” said group pioneer Dr. Eric Gorscak, an analyst at the Field Exhibition hall of Normal History and the Midwestern University.

The fractional skeleton of Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia — counting teeth, components from all districts of the postcranial skeleton, parcels of both appendages — was recouped from Cretaceous-age rocks of the Galula Arrangement in southwest Tanzania.

Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia. Image credit: Mark Witton / E. Gorscak & P.M. O’Connor, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211412.
Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia. Image credit: Mark Witton / E. Gorscak & P.M. O’Connor, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211412.

“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,” Dr. Gorscak said.

Titanosaurs are best known from Cretaceous-age rocks in South America, but other efforts by Dr. Gorscak and colleagues include new species discovered in Tanzania, Egypt, and other parts of the African continent that reveal a more complex picture of dinosaurian evolution on the planet.

“The discovery of dinosaurs like Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia and others we have recently discovered is like doing a four-dimensional connect the dots,” said Ohio University’s Professor Patrick O’Connor.

“Each new discovery adds a bit more detail to the picture of what ecosystems on continental Africa were like during the Cretaceous, allowing us to assemble a more holistic view of biotic change in the past.”

“This new dinosaur gives us important information about African fauna during a time of evolutionary change,” said Dr. Judy Skog, a program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research.

“The discovery offers insights into paleogeography during the Cretaceous. It’s also timely information about an animal with heart-shaped tail bones during this week of Valentine’s Day.”

The discovery is reported in a paper in the journal PLoS ONE.


E. Gorscak & P.M. O’Connor. 2019. A new African Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from the middle Cretaceous Galula Formation (Mtuka Member), Rukwa Rift Basin, Southwestern Tanzania. PLoS ONE 14 (2): e0211412; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211412

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