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How a dinosaur gets a name

Updated: Mar 2, 2018

A big riddle about dinosaurs has been solved. Four years ago, a dinosaur fossil skeleton was found in the Sahara Desert of Egypt.

When the fossil bones were first found, palaeontologists were confused. Palaeontologists are scientists who research and examine very old documents and fossils and explore our planet’s ancient history.

At first, the paleontologists were not sure what kind of dinosaurs these bones belonged to. With time it became clear that the dinosaur’s jaw bones belonged to a new species. The fossils are about 80 million years old. They are similar to the dinosaurs that lived in Europe and Asia. This means that this species has lived short before the dinosaurs died out, there was a link between the European and the African dinosaurs.

“It was — I don't really exaggerate — it was like seeing the holy grail of dinosaurs.”(Matthew Lamanna, principal dinosaur researcher at Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

The scientists named the dinosaur Mansourasaurus. The mansosaurus lived about 66-80 million years ago, weighed as much as an African elephant and was as huge as a schoolbus! It was a plant-eating dinosaur with a long neck and had bony plates on the back.


The dinosaur’s name comes from the researchers of the University in Mansoura who examined the fossil skeleton of this dinosaur. Mansoura is a city in northern Egypt, about 130km north of the country’s capital city of Cairo.

source: Washington Post, image: Mansourasaurus life reconstruction (Andrew McAfee, Carnegie Museum of Natural History)


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