Named By: S. J, Nesbitt, C. A. Sidor, R. B. Irmis, K. D. Angielczyk, R. M. H. Smith & L. M. A. Tsuji - 2010.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Archosauria, Ornithodira, Dinosauromorpha, Dinosauriformes, Silesauridae.
Species: A. kongwe (type).
Size: Somewhere between 1 and 3 meters long.
Known locations: Tanzania - Manda Beds Formation, Lifua Member.
Time period: Anisian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Partial and fragmentary remains from several individuals.
Asilisaurus were a kind of reptile that was very close to the evolutionary line that led to the development of the dinosaurs and pterosaurs. Although established upon very fragmentary fossil remains, the genus indicates a possible earlier development of dinosaurs back to the mid Triassic rather than the late Triassic. This also helps to establish the point of origin of dinosaurs as around South America and Africa during the Triassic. Early dinosaurs such as Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus in South America a few million years after Asilisaurus lived in Africa, but given that South America and Africa were joined together at this time, there is no telling what will be found in the Triassic fossil Formations of Africa over the coming years.
- Ecologically distinct dinosaurian sister group shows early diversification of Ornithodira - S. J, Nesbitt, C. A. Sidor, R. B. Irmis, K. D. Angielczyk, R. M. H. Smith & L. M. A. Tsuji - 2010.
- The femoral ontogeny and long bone histology of the Middle Triassic (?late Anisian) dinosauriform Asilisaurus kongwe and implications for the growth of early dinosaurs. - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 36 (3): e1111224. - C. T. Griffin & Sterling J. Nesbitt - 2016.