Saturday, August 22, 2009

Angola Opens Up

There is a report that, now that the civil war has ended in Angola, palaeontological research is finally paying off there. Louise Redvers of Google News writes:

"Angola is the final frontier for palaeontology," explained Louis Jacobs, of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, part of the PaleoAngola project which is hunting for dinosaur fossils.

"Due to the war, there's been little research carried out so far, but now we're getting in finally and there's so much to find.

"In some areas there are literally fossils sticking out of the rocks. It's like a museum in the ground."

The first reports of dinosaur remains in Angola were made in the 1960s, but a bloody liberation struggle against the Portuguese followed by three decades of civil war covered the country in landmines and made it a no-go zone for researchers.

Following the 2002 peace deal, however, the land is quite literally opening up to fossil hunters who are piecing together the country's Jurassic past.

The biggest find to date was made in 2005 when Octavio Mateus from the New Lisbon University, also part of the PaleoAngola project, retrieved five bones from the front left leg of a sauropod dinosaur on the coast at Iembe.

To paraphrase Glen Reynolds, "Dig faster!"

Now playing: Michael W. Smith - Somewhere Somehow
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