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African roots of the dinosaur family tree

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lucas Measures.

Non-avian dinosaurs are some of the most intensively studied of all extinct animals, but the origin of the group remains contentious. The discoveries of dinosaur ‘precursors’ and early dinosaurs in Argentina and Brazil have led to a consensus that dinosaurs originated in South America during the early part of the Late Triassic, around 235 million years ago. However, this conclusion might be the result of biased sampling, as few Middle and early Late Triassic dinosaur sites are known from anywhere else. New study of historically collected specimens and additional fieldwork in southern and eastern Africa are now starting to add more information to this debate and have the potential to re-write the narrative on dinosaur origins. The picture currently emerging from South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia suggests that early dinosaurs and their ancestors were more geographically widespread than recognised previously and the origin of dinosaurs was rapid, followed by a slow rise to ecological dominance.

This talk is part of the Sedgwick Club talks series.

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