Abstract

A well-preserved, articulated dinosaur skeleton from southern Africa is described. The specimen comes from the upper Elliot Formation (?Hettangian) of Ha Ralekoala (Lesotho) and represents a new species: Ignavusaurus rachelis genus et species nova. A cladistic analysis suggests that Ignavusaurus is more derived than Thecodontosaurus–Pantydraco, but more primitive than Efraasia. Ignavusaurus indeed shares a number of unambiguous synapomorphies with the taxa more derived than Thecodontosaurus–Pantydraco, such as a fully open acetabulum, but it is more plesiomorphic than Efraasia and more derived sauropodomorphs as shown by the evidence of, for instance, the distal extremity of its tibia that is is longer (cranio-caudally) than wide (latero-medially). The discovery of Ignavusaurus increases the known diversity of the early sauropodomorph fauna of the upper Elliot Formation, which stands as one of the richest horizons in the world in this respect.

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