SALT LAKE CITY, March 3 (UPI) — An international team of paleontologists says it has discovered a new species of dinosaur-like animals called Asilisaurus kongwe.
The first bones of the new species — part of a newly recognized group known as silesaurs — came from the Triassic Period in Africa and were found in 2007, scientists said.
The team — including included Randall Irmis, curator of paleontology at the Utah Museum of Nature History — said Asilisaurus falls just outside of the dinosaur family tree. The species lived approximately 10 million years earlier than the oldest known dinosaurs.
Fossil bones of at least 14 individuals were recovered from a single bone bed in southern Tanzania. The researchers said the species stood about 1.5 to 3 feet tall at the hips, were 3 to 10 feet long and weighed about 22 to 66 pounds. They walked on four legs and most likely ate plants or a combination of plants and meat.
“The crazy thing about this new dinosaur discovery is that it is so very different from what we all were expecting, especially the fact that it is herbivorous and walked on four legs, Irmis said.
The discovery that involved scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, the Burke Museum and the University of Washington in Seattle, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Iziko South African Museum and Germany’s Humboldt University appears in the journal Nature.
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