This dinosaur from the Early Jurassic (195 million years ago) of South Africa is shedding new light on the origins of the most enormous dinosaurs ever: the sauropods.
Sauropod dinosaurs reached their zenith in size in the Late Jurassic (145-150 million years ago) but there has been a gap in our knowledge of the beginnings of this gigantism in the Early Jurassic (204-195 million years ago).
Thanks to support from National Geographic and Western Illinois University, Aardonyx, which appears to be closely related to the common ancestor of all sauropods, was discovered in this window of time in South Africa.
The quarry site is outside of Rosendal, South Africa.
Yates, A.M., Bonnan, M.F., Neveling, J., Chinsamy, A., and Blackbeard, M. 2009. A new transitional sauropodomorph from the Early Jurassic of South Africa and the evolution of sauropod feeding and quadrupedalism. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, B: DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1440.
Without the support of these agencies, this project would not have been possible.
- National Geographic Committee for Exploration and Research (CRE #7713-04)
- Faculty Mentor Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, Western Illinois University for Matthew Bonnan
- Center for Innovation in Teaching Research, Faculty Research Developmental Activities Award for Matthew Bonnan
- Additional Page Charges: College of Arts and Sciences, Western Illinois University
- National Research Foundation, South Africa, for Anusuya Chinsamy
- The Palaeontological Scientific Trust supported Marc Blackbeard.
- Adam Yates and closeups of Aardonyx skeleton (Source: Reuters via YouTube)
- Dr. Matt Bonnan’s YouTube video of Aardonyx
Our team would like to also acknowledge the many people who helped us on our journey. Extra special thanks to Heather McMeekan for her efforts on the original Earthclaw website which inspired some of the content presented here.
Find Out More About Aardonyx celestae