Nqwebasaurus thwazi

  • Pronounced:  nick - Web - uh - Sore - us

  • Diet:  Carnivore (meat-eater)

  • Name Means:  "Nqweba Lizard"

  • Length:  2.5 feet (80 cm)

  • Height:  15 inches (38 cm)

  • Weight:  unknown

  • Time:  Early Cretaceous - 141 MYA

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in Africa

This little African meat-eater is very important because it provides many clues about African dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period. Nqwebasaurus lived at the very beginning of the Cretaceous Period, when Africa, South America, Australia, and Antarctica were still one giant island continent called Gondwana. This is the oldest known dinosaur from the family that includes T. rex to be found on one of the continents that once made up Gondwana. This little hunter, who probably ate bugs and lizards, was the great grandfather of many larger predators.

Nqwebasaurus predates the next oldest Gondwanan inhabitant of the family coelurosauria by 50 million years. It provides the first evidence of this family on Gondwana at the beginning of the Cretaceous and supports the theory that this family was spreading throughout Pangaea prior to the breakup of that super-continent. Another interesting fact about this dinosaur is that it was found with apparent gastroliths in its stomach. Gastroliths in theropods are extremely rare - it has even been suggested that these may have been ingested while the dinosaur was eating the carcass of an herbivore that had the stones in its gut.

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