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*Tazoudasaurus naimi*


my translation, spelling of scientific names etc. corrected

Morocco: discovery of a dinosaur dating from 180 Ma

RABAT (AFP [Agence France Presse]) - The bones of a dinosaur recently
discovered in Morocco, a herbivorous sauropod from the Lower Jurassic, about
180 Ma ago, have officially been presented in Rabat by a team of Moroccan,
French, Swiss and American scientists.

The discovery of the fossils of this primitive quadruped, an ancestor of the
big *Brachiosaurus* and *Diplodocus*, measuring around 9 m, was made in the
locality of Tazouda, 70 km south-east of Ouarzazate, where an exceptional
fossiliferous layer was brought to the light of day, according to the
responsibles of the program.

The sauropod has been officially baptized *Tazoudasaurus naimi*, in a
presentation in Rabat in which the Moroccan minister of energy and mines,
Mohammed Boutaleb, reminded [the audience] of the richness and the great
diversity of the paleontological heritage of Morocco, a "real open book"
about the stages of the planet's formation.

The dinosaur from Tazouda constitutes a new "chain link" in the knowledge of
the evolution of the large vertebrates -- for a geological epoch which is
made acccessible by few sites in the world --, said Philippe Taquet, the
responsible in the natural history museum of Paris.

The discovered fossil skull bones, notably a mandible carrying 17 teeth, are
the oldest known ones of a sauropod, he precised.

*Tazoudasaurus* is 20 Ma older than *Atlasaurus* which was discovered in the
same region of the Moroccan High Atlas some years ago and hails from the
Middle Jurassic.

Dale Russel[l], responsible for the research in the natural history museum
of North Carolina (USA), emphasized the contribution by this new sauropod to
the study of the North American dinosaurs, of which it is a direct ancestor.

The Atlantic Ocean wasn't formed [yet] 200 Ma ago, he reminded [us],
estimating that the research zone where he works, in the American east, was
in that epoch "four hours by car" from the Moroccan site.

The Moroccan responsibles announced the project of the creation of a
"dinosaur museum" in Tazouda, on this easily accessible paleontological site
situated in an exceptional mountainous landscape and close to the big
touristic centers of Ouarzazate and Marrakech.

On the other hand, an association fights for the creation of a "geopark", a
zone with the status of a geological reserve, which would allow guarding the
preservation of this paleontological heritage under the auspices of the