March 29, 2018 - 15:22 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Among more than 2,000 ancient fossils found in an African excavation, paleontologists have discovered new species of some of the earliest dinosaurs, Newsweek reports.
Paleontologists didn't know much about the early Triassic below the equator before conducting this research. Through a decade of research, nine different month-long digs in two countries, and partnerships across several institutions, paleontologists now better understand how life on earth existed as the first dinosaurs evolved.
The scientists published a series of papers detailing discovered and studied fossils found across Tanzania and Zambia from 252 million years ago. During this time, the Triassic, both countries were part of one enormous landmass called Pangaea, consisting of all the continents squished into one.
On Wednesday, a team of researchers published 13 new studies, as part of a project now totaling 37 papers. Detailed in this research were more than 2,000 new fossils, information about the ancient environment, and fossils of Teleocrater, an early dinosaur relative that was discovered in 2017, according to Discover magazine.
Researchers also found a lizard-like reptile called procolophonid, as well as some very early dinosaurs, according to a press release. By comparing the finds to others made in the southern hemisphere, including Antarctica, researchers were able to draw a more complete understanding of the Triassic world. They published their findings in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
"These papers highlight what a regional perspective we now have—we have the same fossils from Tanzania, Antarctica, Namibia and more," Christian Sidor, a University of Washington biology professor and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture said in a statement. "We're getting a much better Southern Hemisphere perspective of what's going on in the Triassic."