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Jurassic-era crocodile with T-rex teeth discovered in Madagascar   

WASHINGTON United States (Xinhua) -- Scientists have discovered fossils belonging to an ancient, extinct crocodile relative that has deep and massive jaw bones armed with enormous serrated teeth like those of a T-rex, according to a new study published Tuesday.

The animal, found in Madagascar in Africa, was a top land predator of the Middle Jurassic period, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, according to the study published in the peer-reviewed journal PeerJ by Italian and French paleontologists.

Its jaw bones and serrated teeth strongly suggested that just like T-rex, it also fed on hard tissue such as bone and tendon.

These anatomical features led the researchers to believe that it is a Jurassic notosuchian, close to the South American baurusuchids and sebecids, that were highly specialized predators of terrestrial habits, but different from present-day crocodilians in having a deep skull and powerful erect limbs.

The full name of the predatory crocodyliform is called Razanandrongobe sakalavae, which means “giant lizard ancestor from Sakalava region.”

Nicknamed Razana, the animal is believed to be the oldest and possibly the largest representative of a group of crocodile-like animals called Notosuchians.

“Like these and other gigantic crocs from the Cretaceous, ‘Razana’ could outcompete even theropod dinosaurs, at the top of the food chain”, Cristiano Dal Sasso, of the Natural History Museum of Milan, said in a statement.

“In actual fact, it contributes to filling in a gap in the group’s evolution, which contains a long ghost lineage in the Jurassic,” the paper wrote. “It documents a dramatic, somewhat unexpected, size increase in the early history of the group.”



Madagascar celebrates 57th anniversary of independence

ANTANANARIVO Madagascar (Xinhua) -- Madagascar celebrated the 57th anniversary of its independence coupled with the anniversary of the Malagasy army, on Monday with the theme “I love my homeland, its emergence is my challenge.”

The traditional military parade held by some 2,600 members of the armed forces opened the ceremony and lasted about two hours at Mahamasina stadium. Safety was strictly controlled at the stadium because of the blast last year.

After the military parade, about 1,200 guests rushed to Iavoloha presidential palace, 15 kilometers south of Antananarivo city center for the banquet that Madagascar’s president Hery Rajaonarimampianina and his wife offered.

The president began his speech with a thought for the Malagasy diaspora abroad for this Independence Day and also for Muslims for the end of Ramadan period.

“We must launch a challenge to mark history,” he said.

“For the 57 years of independence, Madagascar had experienced 13 presidents and heads of state. Only six of them are elected by the Malagasy people and only two presidential elections have passed without a post-election crisis. The reason is that we have not been able to set tags for political stability,” Rajaonarimampianina said.

“Only 15 percent of the population have access to electricity. Many households don’t have yet access to safe drinking water while several roads are in poor condition. Everyone are responsible to deal with this situation. Disputes and political discord do not help us to move forward. It’s time to stop it. The emergence of the country is our only target,” the president said.

“We must join hands to develop this country, to fight against acts of violence, mob justice and to maintain security, to improve agricultural production, to promote industrialization, to protect the national wealth of Madagascar and environment,” the president added.

The president gave instructions to public security top officials and called all citizens to take their responsibility to strengthen security in the country.

The president told diplomatic corps attending the presidential banquet that fighters of the national uprising against France in 1947 left to the generations a torch of patriotism to trigger the harmonious emergence in all areas.

The president urged his fellow citizens not to participate in terrorism, violence and all forms of intimidation.

After the banquet, a concert with famous Malagasy dancers and singers ended the celebration at Mahamasina stadium.

Madagascar was colonized by France since the signing of the Annexation Act on Aug. 6, 1896. A self-determination referendum establishing the presidential system of Madagascar was held on Sept. 28, 1958. The first Republic was proclaimed on Oct. 14 the same year. Thereafter, the annexation Act was repealed on the day after the proclamation.

On June 26, 1960, Madagascar’s President Philibert Tsiranana, elected by the provincial councils on May 1, 1959 officially declared at the Mahamasina stadium that France recognized the Malagasy Republic as an independent and sovereign state.


Madagascar receives more than 4,000 tonnes of emergency food aid from China

TAMATAVE, Madagascar (Xinhua) -- More than 4,000 tonnes of emergency food aid from the Chinese government was received by Madagascar’s president Hery Rajaonarimampianina on Monday at the port of Tamatave.

The food aid is hailed as the concretization of the commitments between the Chinese and Madagascar’s governments signed on March 27, 2017 during the official visit of Madagascar’s President Hery Rajaonarimampianina to China.

“Only two months after my meetings with the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, we are already here with a concrete act that is very symbolic because it is for the victims of drought and the victims of cyclone. It is a symbolic act because the will was realized in a concrete act in a very short time,” Rajaonarimampianina said in his speech during the ceremony of the donation release.

The president listed some of China’s contributions in his country, from infrastructures to the presence of Chinese medical team in Madagascar, and expressed his confidence in Madagascar attaining food self-sufficiency through the cultivation of Chinese hybrid rice.

“Following the Malagasy Government’s call after the drought and the passage of cyclone Enawo to meet humanitarian needs of the affected population and to support Madagascar in responding to this alarming situation, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Rice food aid as an urgent donation worth 30 million yuan to the Malagasy government, or about 14 billion Ariary,” the Chinese Ambassador to Madagascar Yang Xiaorong said during the donation ceremony.

Amid its large amount, “the gifts weighing about 4,300 tonnes is sent in three lots, including the first of 1,000 tonnes on June 3, 2017, the second batch of 2,100 tonnes docked on June 17, 2017, while the third about 1,200 tonnes is scheduled to arrive in August 2017,” Yang added.

This gift of cereals reaffirms the solidarity of the Chinese people with the Malagasy people and their determination to overcome the difficulties encountered together, the ambassador said.

In close collaboration with the Madagascar’s National Bureau of Risk and Disaster Management (BNGRC), these cereals will be sent to the most needy households, both Madagascar’s president and the Chinese Ambassador said.

In 2015 and 2016, China offered a cash donation of 300,000 U.S dollars and a donation of tents and blankets to help Madagascar strengthen resilience to natural disasters and provide relief to the most disadvantaged populations.

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