Sesotho name for dinosaur discovered in Free State

2015-06-24 17:02
The newly-named Sefapanosaurus. (Supplied, Wits University)

The newly-named Sefapanosaurus. (Supplied, Wits University)

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Johannesburg - Researchers from South Africa and Argentina have discovered a new dinosaur from the Free State that is 200 million years old - and gave it a Sesotho name.

The Sefapanosaurus, from the Sesotho word "sefapano" which means "cross", hails from the Zastron area, about 30km from the Lesotho border.

The specimen was originally found in the late 1930s, but it only recently became clear that this is a new dinosaur.

"For many years it remained hidden among the largest fossil collection in South Africa at the Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI) at Wits University," the university said in a media release on Wednesday.

"A few years ago it was studied and considered to represent the remains of another South African dinosaur, Aardonyx. However, upon further study, close scrutiny of the fossilised bones has revealed that it is a completely new dinosaur."

One of its most distinctive features is that one of its ankle bones, the astragalus, is shaped like a cross. 

Researchers from South Africa’s University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand as well as from the Argentinian Museo de La Plata and Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio made the announcement in the scientific journal, Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society.

The paper, titled A new basal sauropodiform from South Africa and the phylogenetic relationships of basal sauropodomorphs, was published online on Tuesday, June 23 2015.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  archaeology  |  dinosaurs

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