University of Portsmouth scientist discovers dinosaur fossils in Morocco

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THE fossils of the first-ever semi-aquatic dinosaur have been discovered in Moroccan desert cliffs by a team of scientists, including one from the University of Portsmouth.

The remains of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, a 15-metre long, seven-tonne predator, which is far bigger than a Tyrannosaurus rex, reveal it adapted to life in the water some 95 million years ago.

University of Portsmouth palaeontologist Dr Dave Martill was one of the authors on the study.

He said: ‘This is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever worked on.

‘We suspected that this enormous dinosaur might have adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle but we’ve never had proof before.

‘Working in the Sahara desert has been extremely hard but the results so far are fantastic and although we’re already revealing some of the exciting findings we still have plenty more research to do.’

Dr Martill worked alongside researchers from universities and museums in Chicago, Milan Rome and Bristol.

He said: ‘The team were magnificent; it was such a pleasure to work with scientists from across the globe.

‘We’ve even had Portsmouth students working their socks off in the desert heat – they’ve been busy sieving through piles of earth to find dinosaur teeth.’

The scientists, led by Dr Nizar Ibrahim of the University of Chicago, analysed new fossils uncovered in the Moroccan Sahara along desert cliffs knows as the Kem Kem beds.