Nqwebasaurus (Nqweba lizard)
W. J. de Klerk, C. A. Forster, S. D. Sampson & C. F. Ross - 2000
Estimated 1 meters long
N. thwazi (type)
South Africa - Kirkwood Formation
Early Jurassic, 125 million years ago
Nqwebasaurus was a small, bipedal dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous period, approximately 125 million years ago. Its fossils were found in the Kirkwood Formation of South Africa, making it one of the few known African ornithopod dinosaurs.
Nqwebasaurus was a relatively small dinosaur, measuring around 1 meter (3.3 feet) in length and weighing around 10-20 kilograms (22-44 pounds). It had a slender, agile body with long, powerful legs and a long tail that likely helped it balance and maneuver. Its front limbs were short and had three-fingered hands, which it likely used for grasping and manipulating objects.
Nqwebasaurus had a distinctive skull with a long, narrow snout and large eye sockets. Its teeth were small and pointed, which suggests that it was an herbivore that fed on tough vegetation. Based on its skeletal features, Nqwebasaurus has been classified as a member of the iguanodont family, a group of ornithopod dinosaurs that were characterized by their toothless beaks and large, hoof-like claws on their hind feet.
The discovery of Nqwebasaurus is important because it provides valuable information about the diversity of dinosaurs that lived in Africa during the Early Cretaceous period. Its small size and slender build suggest that it was an agile and fast-moving dinosaur, and its herbivorous diet likely played an important role in the ecosystem in which it lived.
In conclusion, Nqwebasaurus is an interesting and unique dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous period in what is now South Africa. Its small size, long legs, and distinctive skull are characteristic of the iguanodonts, a group of ornithopod dinosaurs that were well-adapted for herbivory. The study of dinosaurs like Nqwebasaurus helps us to better understand the diversity of life that existed on Earth millions of years ago, and the important role that paleontology plays in uncovering and understanding this history.