Nqwebasaurus

Name: Nqwebasaurus ‭(‬Nqweba lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Nik-web-ah-sore-us.
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)‬.
Diet: Omnivore‭?
Size: About‭ ‬90‭ ‬centimetres long.
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.

       Nqwebasaurus 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 primitive ornithomimosaur,‭ ‬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 like Pelecanimimus possessing a number of teeth,‭ ‬Harpymimus having reduced teeth,‭ ‬to late Cretaceous forms like Gallimimus having no 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.

Further reading
-‭ ‬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.



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