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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

The bulk of the bones are vertebrae from the dinosaur's neck and back, some of its ribs and portions of its shoulders and front legs. Paleontologists also recovered pieces of its skull and jaws, a few bones from one of its hind feet and what they think were bony scales known as osteoderms.

Its features prompted the paleontologists to classify Mansourasaurus as a titanosaur, a group that includes Dreadnoughtus, the 65-ton behemoth that weighed more than a Boeing 737, and the slightly larger Patagotitan, which was 12 times heavier than an elephant. However, for a titanosaur, Mansourasaurus was not particularly big.

The researchers are hopeful that that the discovery will help them understand some of the major changes that were happening during and after the late Cretaceous. The continents were pulling away from each other at that time, and scientists don't know how isolated the animals of Africa were.

M. shahinae's bones suggest that the animals weren't as cut off as some researchers had come to believe. This creature appears to have been a closer relative of dinosaurs from Europe and Asia than it was to dinosaurs from the southern part of Africa or from present-day South America.

The dinosaur was named for Mansoura University and for Mona Shahin, who helped found the school's Vertebrate Paleontology Center.

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