hold on to your butts
The oldest dinosaur in the world has been found, but paleontologists didn't discover the fossil (y'see, because it's really, really
old and also because it's a literal fossil… oh, shut up, I haven't had my mocha yet) at some Jurassic Park
-esque dig. Nope. It had just been squirreled away in a closet for some 50-odd years.
In the store room the Natural History Museum in London, to be exact. The remains were dug up in Tanzania in the mid-1930s and were studied for several decades before being put into storage. Recent study dates the new species, called Nyasasaurus parringtoni
, at between 247 million and 235 million years old, making it between 10 and 15 million years older than the next-oldest dinosaur we know about.
An international team of researchers have identified what they think is the earliest specimen of a dinosaur on record, a find that could rewrite textbooks and push back the development of dinosaurs between 10 and 15 million years
from the Late to Middle Triassic period, suggesting that during their early development, dinosaurs wouldn't have been the dominant vertebrate group on the planet. An unassuming specimen -- which had been sitting on a shelf at the Natural History Museum
in London since being discovered in the 1930s -- Nyasasaurus parringtoni was a vegetarian, land-dwelling reptile about the size of a labrador retriever boasting a 5-foot-long tail, and likely originated in the southern portion of the super-continent Pangea.