Friday, June 15, 2007

Eocursor parvus from South Africa

A primitive ornithiscian dinosaur from the Late Triassic of South Africa, and the early evolution and diversification of Ornithischia. 2007. R. Butler et al. Proc. of the Royal Society B 274.

From The Times On-line:

Eocursor is among the earlier members of the Ornithischia, and the most complete ornithischian skeleton yet found from the Triassic period, between 250 million and 200 million years ago.

“The few ornithischian fossils from the Triassic are incomplete and controversial, so we know virtually nothing about the group’s early evolution. Eocursor is enormously important because it helps to fill this gap in the fossil record.”

The miniature dinosaur fossil was discovered in 1993 in Orange Free State (now Free State), South Africa, but the specimen has only recently been studied exhaustively by scientists. It has been identified as a new species from details of its skull, backbone, arms, pelvis and legs.