First footprints of 200 million year old huge carnivorous dinosaur found
London : The researchers have discovered footprints of 200-million-year-old a huge carnivorous dinosaur in southern part of Africa continent. The three toed footprints measure 57cm in length and 50cm in width.
With the size of footprints it has been estimated that the new species of discovered dinosaur must have been 9 meters in length and nearly 3 meter tall at the hip, this is four times the size of a lion, which is currently the largest carnivore in southern Africa.
"The latest discovery is very exciting and sheds new light on the kind of carnivore that roamed what is now southern Africa," said Fabien Knoll, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester in Britain.
"That's because it is the first evidence of an extremely large meat-eating animal roaming a landscape otherwise dominated by a variety of herbivorous, omnivorous and much smaller carnivorous dinosaurs. It really would have been top of the food chain," Knoll added.
The newly discovered dinosaur has been named Kayentapus ambrokholohali belonging to a group of dinosaurs called "megatheropod", according to the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The term "Megatheropods" describes the giant two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs, such as the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) which fossil evidence shows was around 12 metres long.
This study also revealed that these footprints make up the largest theropod tracks in Africa.
The tracks were found on an ancient land surface, known as a palaeosurface, in the Maseru District of Lesotho, a small country in southern Africa.
(with IANS inputs)