Scientists Have Unearthed The First Dinosaur Evidence in Saudi Arabia

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Dinosaurs are fascinating, but aren’t homogeneously dstributed over our planet. Scientists have just recently discovered the first ever dinosaur evidence from the Arabian subcontinent in Saudi Arabia.

Unprecendent dinosaur discoveries have not only been made in Mexico and China last year. Scientists also unearthed the first remains of dinasaurs in Saudi Arabia.

As described in their abstract this discovery is amazingly rare:

Dinosaur remains from the Arabian subcontinent are exceedingly rare, and those that have been documented manifest indeterminate affinities. Consequently the discovery of a small, but diagnostic, accumulation of elements from Campanian-Maastrichtian (~75 Ma) deposits in northwestern Saudi Arabia is significant because it constitutes the first taxonomically identifiable dinosaur material described from the Arabian Peninsula.

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First dinosaur remains found in Saudi Arabia – December 2013. Photo: PLOS

The fossils include a series of possible lithostrotian titanosaur caudal vertebrae, and some isolated theropod marginal teeth that share unique character states and metric parameters (analyzed using multivariate statistical methods) with derived abelisaurids – this is the first justifiable example of a non-avian carnivorous dinosaur clade from Arabia.

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Map and location site where the first dinosaurs remains were discovered in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Plos

The recognition of titanosaurians and abelisaurids from Saudi Arabia extends the palaeogeographical range of these groups along the entire northern Gondwanan margin during the latest Cretaceous. Moreover, given the extreme paucity of coeval occurrences elsewhere, the Saudi Arabian fossils provide a tantalizing glimpse into dinosaurian assemblage diversity within the region.

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