Wits scientist discover new dinosaur

2009-11-11 12:11

A WITS University researcher has discovered a new species of

dinosaur.

Australian Dr Adam Yates led the investigation, which started five

years ago, after postgraduate palaeontology student Marc Blackbeard made the

discovery.

The dinosaur, found in Senekal in the northern Free State, has been

named Aardonyx celestae after Yates’ wife, Celeste, who prepared

the fossil.

Aardonyx is derived from (aard – Afrikaans for Earth) and (onyx -

Greek for claw).

Yates, who works at Wits’ Bernard Price Institute for

Palaeontological Research, said the type of bones found on site had never been

seen before.

“Some of the bones had been lost to erosion before the site was

discovered,” the palaeontologist said.

He told a briefing at the university’s Origins Centre in

Braamfontein today, that 600 bones had been found.

The dinosaur is believed to be between 183 and 195 million years

old.

Although Yates said he could not tell how big it was, he believes

its size was possibly half a ton (500 kilograms) and between 12 and 15 metres in

length.

He added that it was a plant eater with small teeth and that it had

short forearms compared to its hind legs.

“This is one of the many jewels South Africa has,” he said.

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