How a rock ended up being the missing link of human evolution. (Simone Kley/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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The Largest Land Animal in History Weighed 26,000 Pounds

The 200,000 million-year-old dinosaur was excavated in South Africa.

A recently discovered dinosaur, the Ledumahadi mafube, was the largest land animal in history, weighing in at an astonishing 26,000 pounds. The new dinosaur’s Sesotho name translates to “a giant thunderclap at dawn” in English.

The discovery of the Ledumahadi fossils, an excavation that began in 2012, in South Africa has major implications for our understanding of the evolution of dinosaurs. Published in Current Biology, the study suggests that when the Ledumahadi walked the earth 200 million years ago, the evolution of the species was in a transitional phase between the days of walking on two legs and the days of walking on four.

Walking on all four legs allowed dinosaurs like the Ledumahadi to get bigger and enabled the digestive process necessary for its herbivore diet. The legs of the Ledumahadi were extraordinarily thick to support all 26,000 pounds of the dinosaur.

The Ledumahadi has two important relatives: the brontosaurus, and another similarly-sized dinosaur that roamed the land of Argentina. The latter relative is particularly striking, giving evidence to the fact that the Pangea at the time would have allowed dinosaurs to traverse from South America to South Africa.

Read the full story at CNN