A previously discovered dinosaur skull has now been categorised as an entirely new species of dinosaur.
In what is now South Africa, a group of herbivorous dinosaurs named Massospondylus carinatus were living in the late Triassic-Early Jurassic epoch.
A group of PHD students from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, have been researching a collection of Massospondylus carinatus fossils.
Kimberley Chapelle is one of the students studying the fossils for her PhD. Chapelle has spent six years studying them to further the understanding of their anatomy as well an understanding for their growth development.
One specimen has been in the collection at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, since 1978. It was until recently believe to be a deformed Massospondylus carinatus, nicknamed Grey Skull.
Since Grey Skull’s discovery, it has been part of various studies but has yet to be correctly label until Kimberley Chapelle conducted her research.
Chapelle believed the fossil to be a Massospondylus carinatus, however, when she took a CT scan of the skull she then discovered that it belong to a completely different species and genus.
The species has since been named Ngwevu intloko, which mean Grey Skull in the South African language of isiXhosa. Chapelle has dated the species back to shortly after the End-Triassic Extinction which could tell us a lot about the way life can recover after a large extinction event.
Kimberley Chapelle said:”Not many people in South Africa realise that the country has a rich dinosaur fossil record. Many dinosaurs roamed the region hundreds of millions of years ago, and people come from around the world to study South African fossils…The most rewarding part of this whole experience for me has been to see South African palaeontology in the limelight at an international level. It’s also a really great reminder that there’s still so much for palaeontologists to learn. Ngwevu was discovered more than 40 years ago, and its significance has only just become apparent. Who knows what else might be hiding in specimen collections in South Africa and elsewhere?”