Malawisaurus ‭(‬Malawi lizard‭)

Short Info

Malawisaurus ‭(‬Malawi lizard‭)

Phonetic : Ma-la-wee-sore-us.

Named By : L. L. Jacobs, D. A. Winkler, W. R. Downs & E. M. Gomani – 1993

Diet : Herbivore

Size : Estimated 9 – 16 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Sauropod

Type Species : M.‭ ‬dixeyi‭ (‬type‭)

Found in : Africa,‭ ‬Malawi – Dinosaur Beds Formation

When it Lived : Early Cretaceous, 121-112 million years ago

The genus Malawisaurus, which means “Malawi Lizard”, was a titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur. It lived in the Barremian–Cenomanian ages during the Early-Late Cretaceous, possibly in Brazil. It is the only titanosaur for which skull material has been discovered.


August 1, 2012 - Malawisaurus on Display at the Royal Ontario MuseumCaptMondo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Sidney H. Haughton originally identified Malawisaurus dixeyi in 1928 as a species Gigantosaurus (an incorrect name for the diplodocid Tornieria). Haughton believed it was closely related to G. robustus, later the type species Janenschia. It was discovered in the “Dinosaur Beds”, Malawi. These are often dated by K-Ar dating and considered to be Barremian-Aptian in age. However, the vertebrate assemblage suggests that they could be Late Cretaceous. Louis L. Jacobs and his colleagues placed it in the new genus Malawisaurus in 1993. This was based on newly collected material. SAM 7405 is the holotype, which is a partial skeleton. Its type locality is Mwakasyunguti.

Malawisaurus is unknown outside of Africa. However, a single tooth that resembles the Malawisaurus was discovered in Brazil’s Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian),-aged Alcantara Formation according to a 2007 report.

Malawisaurus was relatively small in sauropod terms. It measured 16 metres (52 feet) in length and weighed around 10 tonnes (11 short ton). It was estimated to have a length of just 11 metres (36 feet) and a weight of 2.8 tonnes (3.1 tons) in 2020. Similar to other titanosaurs found in the area, ossicles were thought to be dermal scutes that covered skin.

The central vertebrae of the tail had an extended centra. The vertebral lateral fossae of Malawisaurus looked like shallow depressions. Saltasaurus and Alamosaurus have fossae that resemble shallow depressions.

Source: Wikipedia