The location of the new rhino fossils found in the basin of the city of Orsazate, south of the High Atlas in Morocco, will continue to be a source of interest for scientists for further excavations and scientific studies.
Agadir In a new scientific discovery, an international research team has found fossils of an extinct rhinoceros that lived in Morocco millions of years ago. The result In the scientific journal “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica” dated October 19 last.
The research team includes Sameer Zuhri, a professor of geology at the Faculty of Science at Ain Chack University of Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco, and Denis Grade, a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History at the University of Sorbonne in France. .
Sameer Zuhri, a Moroccan researcher involved in the discovery, said in an e-mail interview with Al-Jazeera Network: Mammals in the Miocene (Between 8 and 10 Million Years) “
New and unique type
According to the study, the researchers found that this type of rhino was an ancient form of rhino that belongs to the group “Elsmoterin”, which they call “Eoazara” and “Eoazara xerrii” scientifically, by a single name. Century on the site.
Sameer Suhri explains, “Also, we found out An ancient tetralfodon elephant (Tetralophodon), belongs to the family Gomphoterus, as well as giraffes and deer. Hipporian horse Unlike horses and donkeys with three-toed legs (triadactyls), we found a crocodile and a large land tortoise, ending in a toe or “monodactyls” next to the current Nile crocodile.
Scientific studies indicate that it is different from the rhinoceros found in Benny Mell in 1976 because it is 13 to 14 million years old, but it is only known with a few teeth. The Algerian species (1992) and al-Tunisi (1989) are practically the same geographical age, but their skull research team is unaware that they may have belonged to the “Deserotini” and, of course, not to the “Iuzara Ziri”.
Commenting on the significance of the study, Sameer Zuhri said, “From a scientific point of view, the significance of this study lies first in the fact that the first rhinoceros from the” Elsmoterin “group, known in North Africa, was recorded on its skull, followed by its bones, which is one of the best recorded since the early Miocene.
According to the Moroccan researcher, this new species “sheds light on the understanding of rhino evolution in general and in Africa, and the study of all the animal communities in the region tells us about the type of environment and the climate at that time.”
Denial of previous theory
Until recently, paleontologists suspected that this species did not live in North Africa, but this new study shows that “Euzara zeri” is primarily a member of the Eurasian rhino (clade), but rather a survivor of the hypothetical African branch of Elsmoterin.
Furthermore, this Moroccan fragment was in a lower evolutionary stage than the Chinese pieces Ningxiatorium and Parolsmotherium, but may be closer to the early Miocene forms of East Africa, but Parolsmoterium is known as an incomplete fossil.
Sameer Zuhri, a geologist, points out that “the general public, especially young people, are fascinated by these prehistoric animals, such as dinosaurs and mammoths, which paleontologists sometimes extract from fossilized bones and sometimes from fragments.”
“These animals impress with their unusual size, shape and geographical age, i.e., the length of time they lived, unfortunately we do not have a natural history museum in Morocco so young people can enjoy these amazing animals,” he added.
A long-term research project
Looks like where the fossils of the new rhino were found Basin of the city of Orsacet, south of the High Atlas In Morocco, it will continue to pique the curiosity of scientists for further exploration and scientific study.
In this regard, Sameer Zuhri confirms, “This study is part of a research project on early Miocene animals and their environment for the Overseas City Basin, which we have been working on since 2012.”
“This study is part of a research partnership between the Department of Geology at the Faculty of Science at the University of Hassan II in Casablanca and the Center for Research in Paleontology at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Vertebrate Paleontology,” he added.
Commenting on the challenges faced by the research team in this discovery, Sameer Zuhri said, “In paleontology, there are several stages, the first of which are field missions to search for fossils, followed by laboratory operations for restoration and integration, and the stage is still challenging for the researcher to perform, despite the physical, technical or intellectual challenges.
Moroccan researcher Al Jazeera concludes his speech with the Net: “We are still conducting our field research and laboratory work, looking specifically for the fossils of the apes’ descendants of this period (8-10 million years ago), a crucial period in human evolution.
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