Monday, July 25, 2011

Angola's Giant (Dinosaur)

The first dinosaur found in Angola has been named the Angolatitan adamastor.  Angolatitan means ‘Angolan giant’ and adamastor refers to the mythical sea giant of the South Atlantic feared by Portuguese sailors. The long-necked sauropod was uncovered in 2005 about 70km north of Luanda by Portuguese paleontologist Octávio Mateus from Portugal’s Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museum of Lourinhã.

Remains of the large plant-eating dinosaur, which was believed to have been 13 metres long and lived 90 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period, were found in marine sediments. “These and other fossils tell us an amazing story about the climate and climate change in this part of the world,” says Louis Jacobs from the Southern Methodist University, who is a member of the Mateus PaleoAngola Project team. “In an oilproducing country like Angola, this project helps us to understand the geology of the region and the implications for its richness.”

The detailed description, in which the Angolatitan adamastor officially received its scientific name, was presented in the publication Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências (Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences).

As well as discovering Angola’s first dinosaur, the PaleoAngola team has uncovered mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, turtles and other cretaceous marine animals. The long-term goal of the project is to create a strong and lasting institutional and scientific collaboration with Angolan academia.  (Sonangol Universo Magazine, June 2011)

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