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This dinosaur from Egypt is a really big deal — in more ways than one

Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Science & Technology News

Introducing Mansourasaurus shahinae, a newly discovered dinosaur from Egypt.

It's a big discovery in more ways than one.

This dinosaur is a titanosaur, so it belongs to the same group as some of the largest creatures that ever walked the Earth.

It's also Africa's most complete dinosaur specimen from the late Cretaceous epoch, researchers say. Thanks to its age and location, the researchers are optimistic that it will help them understand the geological and biological links between Africa and the other continents.

A team led by vertebrate paleontologist Hesham Sallam of Egypt's Mansoura University reported the find Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

This dinosaur was a creature to be reckoned with.

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The study authors estimate that Mansourasaurus was about as long as a school bus and as heavy as an African elephant. It measured 26 to 33 feet from the front of its small head to the end of its long, tapering tail.

That huge body was fueled by a plant-based diet.

Some of the bones in the dinosaur's front legs had not fully fused. That led the study authors to believe that this particular animal had not yet reached its adult size.

Everything they know about Mansourasaurus is based on an assortment of bones found in the Dakhla Oasis in Egypt's Western Desert. About 80 million years ago, when this dinosaur was alive, the area was lush and coastal.

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