Scientists have discovered the first dinosaur bones in Saudi Arabia that are identifiable – a huge discovery that has proved very difficult until now. The bones are said to be roughly 72 million years old.
Until now, any bones that have been discovered in north-western Saudi Arabia have been fragments that can’t be identified, which is partly what makes this new find so exciting.
Researchers from Uppsala University, Museum Victoria, Monash University, and the Saudi Geological Survey have uncovered “a string of vertebrae from the tail of a huge “Brontosaurus-like” sauropod, together with some shed teeth from a carnivorous theropod,” reports Science Daily.
These are the first “formally identified dinosaur fossils” from Saudi Arabia, and they were found along the Red Sea coast. The researchers findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.
“Dinosaur fossils are exceptionally rare in the Arabian Peninsula, with only a handful of highly fragmented bones documented this far” Dr Benjamin Kear from Uppsala University in Sweden, who is the study’s lead author, told Science Daily.
“This discovery is important not only because of where the remains were found, but also because of the fact that we can actually identify them. Indeed, these are the first taxonomically recognizable dinosaurs reported from the Arabian Peninsula” Dr Kear continues.
Dr Tom Rich from the Museum Victoria in Australia says that it’s rare to find dinosaur remains throughout the Arabian Peninsual or east of the Mediterranean Sea because the region was completely submerged in water – making it very difficult to find fossils.
However, Dr Rich adds that the first fossil is the hardest to find. Now that the researchers know where to find them, it will be easier to unearth more.
The two types of dinosaur fossils and bones belonged to “a bipedal meat-eating abelisaurid distantly related to Tyrannosaurus but only about six metres long, and a plant-eating titanosaur perhaps up to 20 metres in length.”
Image of Adaffa Theropod tooth belonged to the first identifiable carnivorous theropod dinosaur from the Arabian Peninsula. (Credit: Photo by Maxim Leonov (Palaeontological Institute, Moscow)