A huge dinosaur that used to weigh approximately 13 tons and was able to crouch like a cat does now has just been discovered in the region that now falls under South Africa’s jurisdiction. Apparently, it is a new species, called Ledumahadi mafube in Sesotho – which is one of the 11 languages which are recognized officially in South Africa – has a name that describes a ‘giant thunderclap at dawn’.
It is believed that the dinosaur was about twice the size of an African elephant and it was alive and roaming the Earth approximately 200 million years ago. It used to live in the Jurassic period and it was apparently an herbivore – or a plant eater. This week, in the Current Biology journal, a team of scientists led by Jonah Choiniere, a paleontologist from the University of the Witwatersrand, described the dinosaur as a new ‘sauropodomorph’.
In an article by the university, Choiniere said that “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 honors both the recent and ancient heritage of southern Africa”. Ledumahadi mafube resembled sauropods, those dinosaurs with long necks which stood on four legs that looked like veritable columns, such as the Brontosaurus, according to the National Geographic.
However, it was a distant cousin, it seems. This one had its front limbs thicker and despite the fact that it stood on four legs, the dinosaur apparently had to stay in a crouched position, much like we are used to see a cat stand now. The lead author of the study, Blair McPhee, said that “The first thing that struck me about this animal is the incredible robustness of the limb bones. It was of similar size to the gigantic sauropod dinosaurs, but whereas the arms and legs of those animals are typically quite slender, Ledumahadi’s are incredibly thick”.