|Basic info||Taxonomic history||Classification||Relationships|
|Morphology||Ecology and taphonomy||External Literature Search||Age range and collections|
Nyasasaurus parringtoni is based upon postcranial material collected from the Middle Triassic of Tanzania. The name was first used by British palaeontologist Alan Charig in the 1960s, but was only formally published in early 2013 (appeared online in late 2012). Although fragmentary, the holotype specimen includes character states that suggest dinosaur affinities (e.g. elongated deltopectoral crest on humerus, three sacral vertebrae, histological features). If correctly identified, this would be the oldest dinosaur body fossil yet discovered, preceding other early dinosaur fossils by 10-15 million years. However, it is possible that rather than a true dinosaur, Nyasasaurus might instead represent the closest known relative of dinosaurs. Etymology: Nyasa, from Lake Nyasa near the type locality, and sauros, Greek for lizard; parringtoni, in honour of Francis Rex Parrington, collector of the holotype.
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If no rank is listed, the taxon is considered an unranked clade in modern classifications. Ranks may be repeated or presented in the wrong order because authors working on different parts of the classification may disagree about how to rank taxa.
|S. J. Nesbitt et al. 2013||Nyasasaurus parringtoni was a 2–3 metre long (estimated from vertebral dimensions) dinosauriform with the following unique combination of humeral character states: ventrally elongated deltopectoral crest; laterally deflected apex of the deltopectoral crest; distinct notch central to the apex of the deltopectoral crest; pointed expansion on the proximal surface near the dorsal extent of the deltopectoral crest; proximal surface of the humerus continuous with the lateral surface of the deltopectoral crest; and distinct fossa present on the posterodorsal surface, just ventral to the proximal surface. Humeral histology indicates rapid growth characterized by complex vascularization, highly woven bone tissue and the absence of any lines of arrested growth. The vertebrae also have a distinct combination of character states, including: at least three sacral vertebrae; dorsoventrally tall sacral ribs; and hyposphene–hypantrum intervertebral articulations in the presacral vertebrae|