200-Million-Years-Old Fossil of Giant Dinosaur Found In South Africa: “Giant Thunderclap at Dawn”

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During the Jurassic, 200 million years ago, a giant dinosaur called Ledumahadi mafube was roaming the land of South Africa. It was a 13-ton creature that crouched like a cat. The name of the newly discovered fossil comes from an African language – Sesotho, and it translates into English: “giant thunderclap at dawn.”

The name does this dinosaur justice. It was twice as big as the African elephant, and it was described by a team of scientists as being a “new sauropodomorph.” Their findings were recently published in the journal Current Biology. The lead author of the study, paleontologist Jonah Choiniere (University of the Witwatersrand) explains in an article the name and some traits of this new dinosaur species:

“The name reflects the great size of the animal as well as the fact that its lineage appeared at the origins of sauropod dinosaurs. It honors both the recent and ancient heritage of southern Africa.”

The creature was similar to all sauropods – it had a long neck, four column-like legs, but he was a distant cousin: it was able to crouch like a cat, and its front legs were thicker.

The Ledumahadi Mafube Had Incredibly Thick Arms

The lead author of the paper and paleontologist at the University of São Paulo, Blair McPhee said that this animal was weird:

“The first thing that struck me about this animal is the incredible robustness of the limb bones. It was of similar size to the gigantic sauropod dinosaurs, but whereas the arms and legs of those animals are typically quite slender, Ledumahadi’s are incredibly thick.”



The remains were found in the Free State province, near Clarens (South Africa), at 187 miles distance from Johannesburg. According to the South African National Museum in Bloemfontein expert Jennifer Botha-Brink, the adult dinosaur died at 14 years old.

A postdoctoral research scientist Eric Gorscak (The Field Museum), who was not part of the study expressed his excitement when hearing about the discovery:

“We don’t yet have a complete skeleton, and we only have one representative for the whole species. Many surprising things could come to light if Ledumahadi’s fossils are found in other places.”

Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.