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DD1991

New Titanosaur From Tanzania

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DD1991

An interesting article about a new sauropod from Tanzania:

http://phys.org/news/2014-09-species-titanosaurian-dinosaur-tanzania.html

The discovery of a titanosaur from the Middle Cretaceous deposits in Tanzania is significant in many respects.

First, it represents the third diagnostic titanosaur from Cretaceous sediments in sub-Saharan Africa.

Second, it bolsters the hypothesis by Paul Sereno and colleagues that the breakup of Gondwana was a rather gradual one, so a number of titanosaurs known from South America may also have inhabited sub-Saharan Africa at a time when South America was slowly breaking away from Africa (the basal somphospondylian Angolatitan is of late Turonian age and also from sub-Saharan Africa, so it's not unreasonable to imagine titanosaurs populating South America and Africa in the Cenomanian and Turonian).

Third, Rukwatitan is the first middle Cretaceous dinosaur from the Africa's Great Rift Valley. The non-titanosaur somphospondyl Wintonotitan and the lithostrotian Diamantinasaurus from Australia are of about the same age as Rukwatitan, so it's not implausible that some titanosaurs made it to Australia by immigrating to Africa, and then indirectly to Australia via Antarctica.

With Rukwatitan, we are just beginning to appreciate the diversity of middle Cretaceous Gondwanan titanosaurs outside South America.

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