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Yet another species of dinosaur has been discovered as we enter new era of discoveries

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Oct 1, 2018

Paleontologists have discovered a new species of massive dinosaur from the Jurassic Period in South Africa, dubbing it Ledumahadi Mafube, or "Giant Thunderclap" in English. 

The find was recorded in the peer-reviewed Current Biology, which described the dino as a sauropodomorph that weighed around 12 metric tons and stood 4 meters high, twice the size of an African elephant.

While this is not the biggest lizard ever unearthed, it was, according to Professor Jonah Choiniere of the Evolutionary Studies Institute, "the biggest animal that was alive on Earth at that time ... the biggest thing ever to have evolved 200 million years ago."

The newly-discovered dinosaur's name also has an unintentional connection to Ray Bradubry's 1952 short story, A Sound of Thunder. In it, a rich man pays an exorbitant amount of money to go back in time to the time of dinosaurs in order to hunt big game. However, he loses his nerve and veers off the predetermined path, accidentally killing a butterfly. This seemingly simple act drastically changes the timestream, creating a noticeably different future. 

This is quite an exciting time for paleontologists, as the modern era is the greatest period of dinosaur discovery in the field's history.

While speaking to National Greographic in June, Stephen Brusatte (discoverer of 10 new species) revealed that 50 new species are being discovered a year on average. For you math nerds, that's almost a new dinosaur every week!

"A big part of the reason is that many places around the world have opened up over the last few decades, like China, Mongolia, and Argentina — vast countries with lots of deserts and mountains, full of rocks bursting with dinosaur bones," he said. "A lot of those places were very hard to work in a few decades ago for western scientists. Even more problematic was the fact that those countries didn’t have many homegrown paleontologists. Now you have this huge group of young people in China, Argentina, and other places, studying dinosaurs. And they’re making a lot of new discoveries."

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