FROM THE EDUCATION DESK
I want to wish everyone a beautiful December to ring in Christmas time with your family and friends. Do make time to visit the DRC to see our tree and make an ornament…one for our tree at the museum and one for you to take home and put on your tree. Please join us in this Christmas tradition here at DRC.! Be sure and mark your calendar for Santa’s visit to the museum on Dec. 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and the 20th from 11:00am-3:00pm. Mrs. Claus and Santa will both be at the museum on Dec. 15th from 12:30pm-3:00pm when we have our “Winter Wonderland” event.
South Africa’s Jurassic giant – Ledumahadi mafube
This dinosaur was found in South Africa’s Free State Province. It was a herbivore, weighed about 26,000lbs. and was roughly double the size of a large African elephant. The name means “ a giant thunderclap” in the local Sesotho language, and it is from the early Jurassic Period nearly 200 million years ago. The name reflects the great size of the animal as well as the fact that its lineage appeared at the origins of sauropod dinosaurs.
It had very thick arm and leg bones. The research team developed a new method using measurements from the arms and legs to show that it walked on all fours like the later sauropod dinosaurs. By analyzing the fossil’s bone tissue Dr. Jennifer Botha-Brink from the South African National Museum established the animal’s age. Indications are that the animal had reached adulthood. By looking at the fossilized bone microstructure the research team could also tell that the animal grew rapidly to adulthood. It is known from a singular incomplete postcranial specimen.
Ledumahadi is closely related to other gigantic dinosaurs from Argentina that lived at a similar time says lead scientist paleontologist Jonah Choiniere. This reinforces the thought that the supercontinent of Pangaea was still assembled in the Early Jurassic. Choiniere also feels it shows how easily dinosaurs could have walked from Johannesburg to Buenos Aires at that time.
The new species was described in the journal Current Biology. It is thought to have been the largest land animal alive on Earth at that time.
A merry and joyous Christmas holiday to all of you…Hope to see you soon!