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Re: "Skeletons in the Sand" PBS show
>I just watched the above for the nth hundreth time (my daughter's
>favourite thing to do is to watch this video). It is about Serreno's
>discovery of the Afrovenator (and the other as yet un-named sauropod)
>in Niger in 1993.
>There are a lot of strong statements made in the program (by the
>narrator), including that, prior to these discoveries, almost
>nothing is known about Cretaceous dinosaurs in Africa, later
>specialized to nothing is known about carnivorous dinosaurs in the
>African Cretaceous. Since Spinosauras is a Late Cretaceous dinosaur
>found in Niger, and they talking about 130 mya, I assume they really
>mean the early Cretaceous.
>How little is/was really known about early Cretaceous African
>dinosaurs? I'm trying to seperate hype from truth!
Not to down play Sereno's discoveries (which are REALLY amazing), but there
have been many other skeletons found by German, French, British, and
American-Malawian teams in Early Cretaceous (145-97 mya) rocks of North
Africa. These include Spinosaurus, Aegyptosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus,
Bahariasaurus, Valdosaurus, Ouranosaurus, Rebbachisaurus, Malawisaurus, and
unnamed stegosaur, and various other forms. Unfortunately, many of these
have not been well described, and several were destroyed in WWII bombing
However, the In Abaka fauna is the oldest known Cretaceous assemblage in Africa.
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist in Exile Phone: 703-648-5280
U.S. Geological Survey FAX: 703-648-5420
Branch of Paleontology & Stratigraphy
MS 970 National Center
Reston, VA 22092