Fossilised remains of a new type of sauropod dinosaur have been unearthed by an international team of palaeontologists, including two Portuguese researchers from Lisbon University, during an excavation in the southern Sahara.
Pedro Dantas and Bruno Ribeiro were members of the team that unearthed the remains of two specimens of a new type of sauropod in the Aberdissinat area in Agadez, in the south of the Sahara desert in Niger.
Sauropods were large herbivores with long necks, tails and massive limbs. This latest type has been named Spinophorosaurus nigeriensis.
The fossils uncovered are estimated to date from between 175 and 154 million years ago during the middle Jurassic period, when large reptiles were dominant and the first birds appeared.
The expeditions, which were held during the winter months between 2003 and 2007, were part of the PALDES – Palaeontology for Development project, which aims to uncover the enormous amount of paleontological heritage in the area and transform it into an economic resource to benefit the region’s population, especially the Tuareg.
For more information about this discovery, please visit the website where the research was published, available in English, at www.plosone.org and search for sauropod.