Name: Rukwatitan bisepultus
Meaning: ‘Rukwa’ for Tanzania’s Lake Rukwa and ‘titan’ for the dinosaur’s size. The species name ‘bisepultus’ means ‘twice buried’ for the fact that part of the skeleton used to name the species was washed out of its original position and reburied in a river channel.
Age: Cretaceous, about 100 million years ago.
Where in the world?: Tanzania’s Rukwa Rift Basin.
Size: Approximately 30 feet long, with forelimbs measuring about 6 and 1/2 feet high.
How much of the dinosaur’s body is known?: Vertebrae from the neck, back, and tail; parts of the hips and shoulders; ribs; and some of the forelimb.
Claim to fame: Ohio University paleontologist Eric Gorscak and colleagues found that Rukwatitan belonged to a wide-ranging and long-lived group of sauropods called titanosaurs. These long-necked dinosaurs are rarely found in Africa, however, with Rukwatitan being only the fifth titanosaur named from the continent. Along with other finds, Rukwatitan will help fill in the story of how these hefty dinosaurs travelled around the world.
Gorscak, E., O’Connor, P., Stevens, N., Roberts, E. 2014. The basal titanosaurian Rukwatitan bisepultus (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the middle Cretaceous Galula Formation, Rukwa Rift Basin, southwestern Tanzania. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 35 (5): 1133-1154. doi: 10.1080/02724634.2014.845568