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Researchers find first carnivorous dinosaur from Saudi Arabia

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The first confirmed evidence of a carnivorous dinosaur that lived in the Saudi Arabian peninsula was presented by scientists from Sweden, Australia, and Saudi Arabia in the Dec. 26, 2013, edition of the journal Public Library of Science.

The discovery of seven caudal bones and two carnivore teeth in the Campanian-Maastrichtian sandstone deposits in the Adaffa Formation in northwestern Saudi Arabia date to 75 million years of age.

The researchers compared the vertebra and teeth to the fossils of known dinosaurs that lived near the same area and at the same time and identified the fossil as belonging to a titanosaur and a theropod. These are the first non-avian dinosaur fossils ever discovered in Saudi Arabia. The dinosaur remains discovered in Saudi Arabia are similar to the same species that have been found in northern Africa and Madagascar previously.

The land mass of Saudi Arabia was attached to what is presently known as Africa 75 million years ago and the scientists propose that the environment was similarly lush and verdant like that of northern Africa at the time based on fossil evidence from Africa. The newly discovered dinosaurs may have immigrated to Saudi Arabia from Africa but the find does present evidence that there could be dinosaurs that are uniquely Saudi Arabian that have yet to be discovered.

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