Geological Magazine

Original Article

A primitive sauropodomorph from the upper Elliot Formation of Lesotho

F. KNOLLa1 c1

a1 Departamento de Paleobiología, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales-CSIC, C/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, Madrid 28006, Spain


A well-preserved, articulated dinosaur skeleton from southern Africa is described. The specimen comes from the upper Elliot Formation (?Hettangian) of Ha Ralekoala (Lesotho) and represents a new species: Ignavusaurus rachelis genus et species nova. A cladistic analysis suggests that Ignavusaurus is more derived than Thecodontosaurus–Pantydraco, but more primitive than Efraasia. Ignavusaurus indeed shares a number of unambiguous synapomorphies with the taxa more derived than Thecodontosaurus–Pantydraco, such as a fully open acetabulum, but it is more plesiomorphic than Efraasia and more derived sauropodomorphs as shown by the evidence of, for instance, the distal extremity of its tibia that is is longer (cranio-caudally) than wide (latero-medially). The discovery of Ignavusaurus increases the known diversity of the early sauropodomorph fauna of the upper Elliot Formation, which stands as one of the richest horizons in the world in this respect.

(Received March 13 2009)

(Revised January 18 2010)

(Accepted January 29 2010)

(Online publication March 10 2010)


  • dinosaur;
  • Jurassic;
  • phylogeny;
  • Africa


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