(Good tibia lizard).
Named By: Egbert Cornelis Nicolaas van Hoepen - 1920.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropodomorpha, Prosauropoda, Riojasauridae.
Species: E. fortis (type).
Known locations: South Africa, Orange Free State - Lower Elliot Formation.
Time period: Carnian/Norian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Partial remains from at least three individuals.
simple terms Eucnemesaurus was a prosauropod, a
member of the group
that was ancestral to the later larger sauropods. Eucnemesaurus
better know association with a former dinosaur genus Aliwalia.
Aliwalia was big news when described, even though
it was only
described from a femur and a partial maxilla. The maxilla was clearly
that of a theropod, and with the large femur, this theropod was
roughly estimated to have been around eight meters long. At the time
this made Aliwalia the first of the large meat
comparable even to large late Jurassic predators such as Allosaurus.
Later study would however dispel the notion of a large dinosaurian predator stomping around South Africa during the late Triassic. The femur is not only that of a prosauropod dinosaur, but it is a match for material that was earlier described as Eucnemesaurus. This presents the problem of the carnivore maxilla, but the simple explanation is that the two bones are not of the same animal. This means that when Aliwalia was described it was essentially a fossil chimera, a collection of remains from more than one type of creature mistakenly described as one. The maxilla of a carnivore may be from a dinosaur that died while feeding upon the body of a Eucnemesaurus, or it could have simply been deposited in association to it by scattering or washing.
Eucnemesaurus is currently regarded as being a member of the Riojasauridae, meaning that it is considered to be similar to Riojasaurus.
- Contributions to the knowledge of the reptiles of the Karroo Formation. 6. Further dinosaurian material in the Transvaal Museum, Egbert Cornelis Nicolaas van Hoepen - 1920.
- Solving a dinosaurian puzzle: the identity of Aliwalia rex Galton, Adam M. Yates - 2006.