Named By: W. J. de Klerk, C. A. Forster, S. D. Sampson & C. F. Ross - 2000.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Theropoda, Coelurosauria, Maniraptoriformes, Ornithomimosauria.
Species: N. thwazi (type).
Size: About 90 centimetres long, but fully grown adults may have been larger.
Known locations: South Africa - Kirkwood Formation.
Time period: Tithonian of the Jurassic to Valanginian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial individual, probably of a juvenile.
was a small theropod from probably the early Cretaceous of Southern
Africa, but exactly what kind has been hard to establish. Current
thinking is that Nqwebasaurus was actually a
since specimens of Nqwebasaurus seem to show fewer
teeth in the jaws than those of other theropods. This would follow
the pattern of tooth reduction seen in ornithomimosaurs with genera
possessing a number of teeth, Harpymimus
reduced teeth, to late Cretaceous forms like Gallimimus
teeth, just a keratinous bill.
Like with ornithomimosaurs, the exact diet of Nqwebasaurus is uncertain. Nqwebasaurus was first envisioned as a meat eater, but the discovery of gastroliths, and reduced teeth count suggest that Nqwebasaurus may have been a herbivore. However it should be remembered that while gastroliths are usually attributed to herbivores, some predators are known to use them as well, particularly those that eat fish and invertebrates. There is also the large theropod Lourinhanosaurus that was also found with gastroliths in a position that suggests that they were inside the stomach of the living dinosaur. It is not unreasonable to suggest that Nqwebasaurus might have even been an omnivore.
- A new coelurosaurian dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of South Africa, W. J. de Klerk, C. A. Forster, S. D. Sampson & C. F. Ross - 2000.
- New information on Nqwebasaurus thwazi, a coelurosaurian theropod from the Early Cretaceous (Hauteriverian?) Kirkwood Formation in South Africa, J. N. Choiniere, C. A. Forster & W. J. de Klerk - 2012.