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Current Affairs

Most dangerous place on ancient earth

Date: 28 April 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Around 100 million years ago, an area of the Sahara in what is now south-eastern Morocco was home to a frightening array of ferocious predators, so much so scientists have dubbed it "most dangerous place in the history of planet Earth”.

 

Background

A team of scientists reviewed an assemblage of fossils found in ancient rock formations known as the Kem Kem group, located near the border between Morocco and Algeria on the north-western edge of the Sahara Desert.

 

Details

  • The researchers came to this conclusion after conducting one of the largest studies of fossil vertebrates in almost 100 years. Over 100 million years ago, this area was full of ferocious predators, including flying reptiles and crocodile-like hunters.

  • The fossils, which are now held in collections around the world, include those of large dinosaurs, pterosaurs, crocodilians, turtles, fish, invertebrates and plants

  • The area in question featured a "vast river system" 100 million years ago, populated by a variety of aquatic and terrestrial creatures including three some of the largest predatory dinosaurs known, such as the sabre-toothed Carcharodontosaurus and Deltadromeus.

  • The place was filled with absolutely enormous fish, including giant coelacanths and lungfish. The coelacanth, for example, is probably four or even five times large than today’s coelacanth.

  • While this is a dry, arid region today, 100 million years ago when these creatures lived, the area was home to an abundance of aquatic and terrestrial animals. Many of these predators likely relied on the numerous fish that filled the waters of this river system.

  • No comparable modern terrestrial ecosystem exists that is so dominated by large carnivores. In fact, the Kem Kem group contains at least four types of large, predatory dinosaurs, three of which are among the largest dinosaurian predators on record.