Turns out we humans have something in common with dinosaurs: We all trace our origins to Africa. Or at least it seems that way with the new discovery of a new early lineage of dinosaurs from Africa. But is there more to the story? Is there something special about Africa that makes it a cradle of consequential species?
NEWS: Dinosaur Lineage Traced to Africa
Absolutely! Yes. In a way. I mean, sort of. Um...no, not really. The truth is, it depends on how you look at it.
There is definitely something very special about the old blocks of continents that have survived billions of years. They shift about the planet, form supercontinents now and again, wander off on their own, and all the while carry around in their rocks and strata many of the chapters of Earth's history. And sometimes, as the rocks are being chipped away by erosion and tectonics, they those chapters are opened for geologists and paleontologists to read.
The chapter about African dinos, as we now see, is a very cool one. But it's not really African, but Pangean. When the beast that would become dinos roamed the Earth, the supercontinent Pangea was still intact. An animal did not have to swim or fly to get from Africa to South America. They could walk. In fact, similar fossils found on both continents were early evidence of plate tectonics.