team of scientists in Angola have unearthed what they believe is an exciting archaeological discovery: The remains of what they say is a new type of dinosaur, and the largest plant-eating species ever. Here, a brief guide:
What exactly have scientists found?
Thus far, scientists have only found one fossil, of a forelimb bone. Because the skeletal characteristics of the fossil are unique, scientists believe it to be an entirely new dinosaur. They believe the giant dinosaur was a long-necked vegetarian.
Why are they only finding this stuff now?
This is the first major find in Angola in many decades, as the country has long been at war. In the 1960s, the anti-colonial war broke out. After the African country established its independence, civil war broke out in 1975. That continued until 2002, when rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed. The country was left in shambles. Science hasn't been a big priority, but "Angola is catching up right now," says Dutch scientist Anne Schulp.
What else is known about this new dinosaur?
The Angolatitan adamastor or "Angolan giant," is believed to have walked the earth 90 million years ago. The remains were found among fish and shark teeth, leading scientists to speculate that it was washed into the sea and torn apart by sharks.
What could the findings mean?
Matthew Bonnan, a dinosaur expert at Western Illinois University, says the discovery could help scientists better understand how "lizard-hipped dinosaurs" adapted to various environments. Not only that, but it's "really cool" to see such research coming from Angola as the field of paleontology gets more global.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Russia's Ukraine invasion is a moral crisis
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 4 life hacks from ancient philosophers that will make you happier
- The Daily Show explains Hamid Karzai's 'Afghan Hustle'
- The end of academic freedom?
- This energy source could solve all of our problems — so why is no one talking about it?
Subscribe to the Week