New dinosaur species ‘discovered’ in Joburg

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 6 August 2019

A dinosaur fossil that was misidentified decades ago and has been housed in a collection at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Evolutionary Studies Institute was recently discovered to be an entirely new species.

‘This is a dinosaur that’s been hiding in plain sight,’ said Professor Paul Barrett, a dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum in London who was tasked with reassessing the fossil specimen along with Wits PhD student Kimberley Chapelle. Chapelle is the main author of a study detailing the new discovery.

Not only is this dinosaur fossil a new species of sauropodomorph but it’s a completely new genus named Ngwevu intloko. The fossil was initially confused with similar species (Massospondylus) found in Southern Africa.


Ngwevu intloko isiXhosa for ‘grey skull’ consists of a well-preserved, fully-grown skull and skeleton. It is best be described as a slender, long-necked and largely herbivorous dinosaur of the new Lower Jurassic Elliott Formation of South Africa. The ‘newly-discovered’ specimen is expected to be able to teach researchers a lot more about the early Jurassic period, when dinosaurs boomed onto the evolutionary stage.

The fossil was initially found in Fouriesburg, Free State, in 1978.

Also read:

Remains of world’s biggest Tyrannosaurus rex excavated

Featured image: Natural History Museum Dino Lab/Twitter

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