Fossil remains discovered in Tanzania are being hailed as that of the oldest dinosaur ever found.
The fossil of the Labrador sized Nyasasaurus parringtoni dates back as long as 15 million years earlier than any other find, pushing the appearance of the dinosaur lineage back further than ever before to the mid-Triassic era. "If the newly named Nyasasaurus parringtoni is not the earliest dinosaur, then it is the closest relative found so far," said study author Sterling Nesbitt.
The fossils have helped to piece together not only what this particular species would have been like but it's place in the transition from earlier species to dinosaurs. "The bone tissue of Nyasasaurus is exactly what we would expect for an animal at this position on the dinosaur family tree," said co-author Sarah Werning. "It's a very good example of a transitional fossil."
"Researchers have discovered what may be the earliest dinosaur, a creature the size of a Labrador retriever, but with a five foot-long tail, that walked the Earth about 10 million years before more familiar dinosaurs like the small, swift-footed Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus."
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