Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 140 Ma
de Klerk et al., 2000
de Klerk et al., 2000
Nqwebasaurus (IPA: [ᵑǃʷɛbaˈsɔɹəs] with an initial postalveolar nasal click; anglicized as //) is the name given to a genus of dinosaur sometime between the Tithonian to Valanginian (Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous). It was the basalmost ornithomimosaur. Its fossils were found in South Africa in the Kirkwood Formation, which is called Nqweba in the native language of the Xhosa. It was nicknamed "Kirky" after this formation before receiving its scientific name. Nqwebasaurus is the earliest known coelurosaur from Gondwana, pre-dating other known North African taxa by 50 million years. It is also the first coelurosaur to be discovered and named from Africa.
The type species, Nqwebasaurus thwazi, was described by de Klerk, Forster, Sampson, Chinsamy and Ross in 2000. According to the authors, the new genus is one of the "most complete and best preserved Cretaceous theropods described thus far from Africa." The well-preserved specimen had a long, three-fingered hand which included a partially opposable thumb (a "killer claw") The fossil also contained gastroliths in its stomach. The specimen appeared to be a late juvenile about 30 cm (1 ft) high and around 90 cm (3 ft) long, though the length of its tail is not known. New material from the holotype suggests that it was a basal ornithomimosaur, and that it was probably a herbivore. This has been assumed on the basis of the presence of reduced dentition and a gastric mill in Nqwebasaurus.
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- de Klerk et al. 2000, p. 327 The left manus shows that the ﬂexed digit I had the potential to partially oppose digits II and III.
- Choiniere, J. N.; Forster, C. A.; De Klerk, W. J. (2012). "New information on Nqwebasaurus thwazi, a coelurosaurian theropod from the Early Cretaceous (Hauteriverian?) Kirkwood Formation in South Africa". Journal of African Earth Sciences. doi:10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2012.05.005.
- de Klerk, W.J.; Forster, C.A.; Sampson, S.D.; Chinsamy, A.; Ross, C.F. (2000). "A new coelurosaurian dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of South Africa" (PDF). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 20 (2): 324–332. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2000)020[0324:ancdft]2.0.co;2.
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