Aardonyx celestae – the new species of dinosaur found in South Africa
According to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a new species of dinosaur - the 7-meter-long Aardonyx celestae - has been found in South Africa. It is believed that the dinosaur lived around 200 to 183 million years ago.
The discovery of Aardonyx celestae, which explains how the dinosaur's iconic body evolved, has provided scientists a valuable clue about the evolution of sauropods. The new dinosaur belongs to the group of Sauropodomorphas - the predecessors of the gigantic, four legged herbivores, sauropods; and the biggest animals to have ever walked on the Earth.
As per the research, though the 195-million-year-old Aardonyx celestae had many features similar to the sauropods, it borrowed its primitive, narrow jaws from its sauropodomorph roots.
Further noting that the Aardonyx celestae sported a big nose and was cheek-less, Adam Yates, lead author of the paper, told Discovery News: "It had a rather long, slender neck and a heavy, barrel-shaped body. The teeth were braced on the outside by a sheet of bone that may indicate the animal was a foliage stripper."
Researchers further said that unlike sauropods, the newfound Aardonyx celestae walked on two legs and only dropped down on all fours; thereby indicating that the walking on all fours by the dinosaurs started much earlier in sauropod ancestors than the scientists had previously thought.
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