Eighty or so years ago, a paleontologist found an upper arm bone and six vertebrae near Tanzania’s Lake Nyasa. Decades later, someone finally got around to analyzing them. They are dinosaur bones! Really, really old dinosaur bones — about 10 million years older than any dinosaur we knew about previously.
This new old guy is called Nyasasaurus parringtoni and, for a dinosaur, he’s teeny tiny. Because he’s so old, researchers had to convince themselves that he was really a dinosaur — but they’re pretty convinced. They also think he probably weighed no more than 135 pounds and as little as 45. He did have a really long tail — at five feet, it would have been about the length of human — and a creepy, long neck that looks sort of like that of an emu.
But he was more like a bird than a crocodile and about the size of many animals we deal with today. The University of Washington called it “a creature the size of a Labrador retriever” — we’re betting your dog could probably take it.
- Oldest dinosaur found, Discovery News
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