Malawisaurus

Name: Malawisaurus ‭(‬Malawi lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ma-la-wee-sore-us.
Named By: L. L. Jacobs, D. A. Winkler, W. R. Downs & E. M. Gomani - 1993.
Synonyms: Janenschia dixeyi, Tornieria dixeyi.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Sauropodomorpha,‭ ‬Sauropoda,‭ ‬Titanosauria,‭ ‬Titanosauroidea,‭ ‬Lithostrotia.
Species: M.‭ ‬dixeyi‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Approximately‭ ‬16‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Africa,‭ ‬Malawi - Dinosaur Beds Formation.
Time period: Aptian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Several specimens of partial remains,‭ ‬partial skull material is also known.

       Malawisaurus began its classification history as a species of Gigantosaurus,‭ ‬however this genus has had a long problematic history regarding its validity and further study towards the end of the twentieth century confirmed that material attributed to Gigantosaurus dixeyi actually belonged to a separate genus,‭ ‬and so Malawisaurus was created.
       Malawisaurus was a titanosaurid sauropod that lived during the early Cretaceous of Africa.‭ ‬This was significant in itself as many of the classic sauropods such as Diplodicus and Apatosaurus were long gone with the other sauropods that were rapidly disappearing from the Northern continents.‭ ‬Malawisaurus itself stands out from other known titanosaurs because it is one of the few that has skull material‭ (‬albeit partial‭) ‬attributed to the genus.‭ ‬This helps to piece‭ ‬together a larger picture of titanosaurid skull forms,‭ ‬particularly in genera which are lacing in skull material.
       Malawisaurus is also one of the titanosaurids that have bony osteoderm growths on their bodies which formed basic armour to protect them from the attacks of predators.

Further reading
- New material of an Early Cretaceous titanosaurid sauropod dinosaur from Malawi. - Palaeontology 36(3):523-534. - L. L. Jacobs, D. A. Winkler, W. R. Downs & E. M. Gomani - 1993.



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