Dinosaurs of Namibia


This National Geographic video is called Niger’s Dinosaur Graveyard.

From New Era in Windhoek, Namibia:

In the Footprints of Namibia’s Dinosaurs

14 November 2008

Catherine Sasman
Windhoek

Namibia did have dinosaurs, and the last remaining testimony thereof, the footprints on Farm Otjihaenamaparero, are protected by law.

Secondary roads D2404 and D2414 off the Okahandja-Otjiwarongo main road lead to the signpost of farm Otjihaenamaparero.

This farm is world famous for the dinosaur footprints that occur in sandstones of more than 200 million year old Etjo Formations that accumulated under even drier conditions than is now experienced with winds blowing in from the Namib Desert.

The footprints – with a distance of about 75 to 85 centimeters apart – indicate that the animal that left it had hind legs of about one meter long.

These footprints believed to be 219 million years old are those of a dinosaur. It has three quite sharp toes at the end, and the whole print is about the same length as that of a human foot.

The area was declared a national monument, and has two crossing track-ways with more than 30 imprints with sizes of about 45 by 35 centimeters. The longer track-way can be followed for about 28 meters. There are also smaller, individual imprints.

From these, it is deduced that these are the hind feet of a bipedal animal. But no body fossils were found.

Footprints at the upper most strata at Etjo Mountain consist of sandstones that accumulated in a fairly arid environment.

But, said Helke Mocke, geologist with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, arguments from dinosaur experts are that these cannot be the footprints of ‘real’ or ‘well known’ dinosaurs.

The argument of these experts, she said, is that Namibia does not have the well-preserved Jurassic rock the remains of dinosaurs were found in.

These experts argued that environmental conditions in Southern Africa during the Jurassic and Cretaceous times were very hostile, with arid conditions prevailing and widespread volcanic eruptions.

This is nonsense, said Dr Gabi Schneider, a geologist and head of the Geological Survey Directorate at the ministry.

“Some of the remains at Waterberg were found in rock formations found in the main southern African Karoo that has one of the richest deposits of dinosaurs in the world,” Schneider said.

Schneider has written the book, Passage through time – fossils in Namibia, published in 2004, with a chapter dealing exclusively with the dinosaurs found in Namibia.

The National Earth Science Museum at the ministry’s head office in Windhoek is home to an impression of a dinosaur belonging to the Massospondylus species that lived about 200 million years old.

Massospondylus means ‘massive vertebra’, and this animal is estimated to have been about three to five meters in length, and one meter tall.

It is also one of the most popular attractions to the museum.

The remains of dinosaurs found in Namibia, said Mocke, were only bone impressions.

The Massospondylus was found near the Waterberg Mountain, and was widespread and found in other areas like South Africa, Botswana and Arizona in North America.

Other types of dinosaurs found at Waterberg were Quemetrisauropus and Prototrisauropus, all of these being herbivores.

The footprints at Farm Othihanamaperero belonged to the Syntarsus (or small carnivore) dinosaurs, and a large Ceratosaurian dinosaur.

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2 thoughts on “Dinosaurs of Namibia

  1. Pingback: Niger giraffes on the way up again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Making a dinosaur ‘fossil’ in your own home | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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