STL Science Center

STL Science Center

04 September 2013

The Minimal Facts

It is always a difficult call to make when a scientist or group of scientists name a new species on very little material. Nyasasaurus is based on such little material that it is almost amazing that we can even consider it definitively a dinosaur. Looking back at papers that we have read this week it is apparent that there were enough characters to definitively announce Nyasasaurus as a reptile and, based on the consensus interpretation of the characters it does appear to be one of the most basal dinosaurs. The vertebrae are scattered around the body (a handful of cervical, a couple thoracic, and a few post-sacral) and the only other bone available for comparison and analysis is a humerus from the right forelimb. This bubble drawing was created to represent the potential area of the body and its dimensions:

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