[D] Aliwalia rex [jG]
Triassic Late Carnian Norian
Saurischia Sauropodomorpha Prosauropoda Nomina Dubia
Lower Elliot Formation at Barnard\\\'s Spruit (also called Ezelsklip), Ward, about 15 miles south of Aliwal North, Albert Burgersdorp) District, Cape Province, South Africa
Eucnemesaurus fortis (Hoepen van, 1920) > Aliwalia rex (Galton, 1985)
Femoral fragments NMW 1886-XV-39 [cotype]: proximal end of left femur, NMW 1876-VII-B124 [cotype]: distal end of left femur and a maxilla.
Named for Aliwal Park Reserve in South Africa. In some details Aliwalia was more advanced than Herrerasaurus, and was as large as Allosaurus. Although referred to Herrerasauridae by Galton in 1985, Sues believes it is Dinosauria incertae sedis.
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Etymology: Aliwalia, Latinization of Aliwal [North], the name of the South African locality near where the type specimen was probably discovered Type species: Aliwalia rex
Current status: Provisionally valid genus ALIWALIA REX
Etymology: rex, a Latin word meaning \\\"king,\\\" referring to the large size of the type and referred specimens Average adult size: More than 25 feet (8 m) long; this estimate is for the type and referred specimens considered as belonging to a single individual Average adult weight: Approximately 1.5 tons (1500 kg); this estimate is for the type and referred specimens considered as belonging to a single individual Range: Southern Africa (Karoo Basin, South Africa) Period: Late Triassic (late Carnian or early Norian stage, about 220-225 million years ago)
Diet: Prosauropod dinosaurs such as Euskelosaurus, herbivorous thecodontians and therapsids Comments: The story of how Aliwalia rex was discovered and described makes an intricate odyssey. Sometime probably in early 1866, Alfred Brown, an amateur 19th-century fossil collector of some repute from Aliwal North, South Africa, came across a deposit of bones of what he thought was a large, hitherto undescribed dinosaur, along a creek named Barnard\\\'s Spruit in the Stormberg Mountains about 15 miles south of his home town. Unearthing the bones proved difficult, but every so often Brown shipped an assortment from this site to England and other countries for description.
The first shipment arrived in the summer of 1866 at the London office of Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, an eminent geologist who, not really knowing what to do with the specimens, turned them over to Thomas Henry Huxley. Huxley named Brown\\\'s dinosaur Euskelosaurus browni, and it is to this large prosauropod that most of the other bones in Brown\\\'s later shipments were referred. But even in 1866, Huxley suspected that more than one dinosaur was represented by the bones in Brown\\\'s shipment.
Huxley made a fragmentary femur (later determined to be a tibia) the type specimen of a second dinosaur, Orosaurus (later called Orinosaurus capensis, still later [Euskelosaurus capensis]). But most paleontologists now consider this specimen to have belonged to another, very large, Euskelosaurus browni individual, if not to the type animal itself. The second shipment was also sent to Murchison, but for some reason it was lost track of. Not until 1980 did Zimbabwean paleontologist Michael R. Cooper suggest that it might have wound up at the Hofmuseum in Vienna, Austria.
Indeed, an assemblage of Karoo bones in that museum are listed as having been donated in 1873 (or before) by Alfred Brown through a Consul Adler of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Perhaps Murchison returned the material to Brown, who then had the bones sent along to Vienna. In any case, unhappy with the treatment his specimens were accorded in England, Brown shipped the third batch to the Museum d\\\'Histoire Naturelle at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. There the bones were examined, placed on exhibit, and described, as Euskelosaurus specimens, by French zoologist Paul Fischer in 1870.
Much later, in September 1889, Brown personally handed over the fourth and final collection of Aliwal North bones to the visiting Harry Govier Seeley, who noted in 1894 that \\\"other portions of the animal were still in the rock.\\\" Those portions, however, were apparently never collected. Studies of the Aliwal material carried out in the 1980s indicate that most of the bones, now spread through three museums in three countries (in London, Vienna, and Paris), very likely belonged to a single skeleton that was once partially articulated: the type specimen of Euskelosaurus browni. Another Euskelosaurus browni individual was also present in the material, because a few of the bones were duplicated.
But two bone fragments proved to be distinctly different from those of Euskelosaurus. They were among the Vienna specimens, and they had briefly been described and figured in 1906 by Friedrich von Huene, who even then suspected that they might have belonged to a dinosaur different from Euskelosaurus. The Vienna bone fragments were reexamined by Peter M. Galton as part of a lengthy ongoing study of all known prosauropod material. He was able to show that the fragments were in all likelihood the top and bottom pieces of the same boneâa left thigh bone about a yard long of a hitherto unknown large carnivorous dinosaur related to the much smaller and somewhat earlier South American predators Herrerasaurus and Staurikosaurus.
Furthermore, among the material that Seeley had been given by Brown in 1889 was a sizable jawbone armed with large, flat, serrated teethâquite unlike the teeth of any prosauropods. Galton strongly suggested, though he could not prove, that the jawbone belonged to the same dinosaur as the thigh bone. This dinosaur, which would have been the size of an average adult Allosaurus, he named Aliwalia rex.
Aliwalia rex is the largest known predatory dinosaur from the Late Triassic, so it is incredibly unfortunate that all we have of it are two fragments of a femur and a single jawbone (which could just possibly have belonged to a large carnivorous thecodontian rather than to a dinosaur). Good skeletons of herrerasaurian dinosaurs are very scarce, although teeth and other isolated bones, such as those identified as Aliwalia rex and others from Europe, seem to indicate that herrerasaurians had a worldwide distribution during the Late Triassic epoch. Technical information Discoverer: Alfred Brown When discovered: Before May 24, 1866 Where discovered: Almost certainly the Lower Elliot Formation at Barnard\\\'s Spruit (also called Ezelsklip), Ward, about 15 miles south of Aliwal North, Albert (Burgersdorp) District, Cape Province, South Africa; this is the same locality as for the lectotype and paratype specimens of Euskelosaurus browni Describer: Peter Malcolm Galton Year described: 1985
Type specimen: The proximal end (NMW 1886-XV-39) and distal end (NMW-1876-VII-B124) of what is evidently the same large left femur (estimated to have been 90-100 cm long when complete), both presently kept as separate specimens at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria Other important specimens: (1) a large upper jaw (partial left maxilla, showing 12 tooth positions, and premaxilla over 40 cm long) with visible replacement teeth (BMNH R3301), found by Alfred Brown in the Lower Elliot Formation at the same site as the type Aliwalia rex femur fragments and perhaps even belonging to the same animal; originally described by Harry Govier Seeley in 1894 as the jaw of Euskelosaurus browni, it is now kept at the Museum of Natural History, London, England (it is primarily this specimen that for many decades late as the 1970\\\'s conveyed the impression that Euskelosaurus was a carnivorous dinosaur, one of the errors in our understanding of prosauropods at long last corrected by the work of Peter Galton, Michael Cooper, Jacques van Heerden, and other paleontologists); and (2) the proximal end of a large left femur (SMNS 51958) found in the Middle Stubensandstein of Pfaffenhofen, StromberghÃhe, Germany, once thought to have belonged to Teratosaurus minor but shown by Peter Galton in 1985 to be similar enough to the type specimens of Aliwalia rex to be provisionally included in the same family, kept at the Staatliches Museum fur Naturkunde, Stuttgart, Germany; not presently considered to be an Aliwalia specimen but apparently belonging to a related, unnamed genus of large herrerasaurian Current status: Provisionally valid species; type species of the genus Aliwalia.
Source George Olshevsky (2002
Aliwalia rex (Galton, 1985) was based on a single fragmentary femur of a large dinosaur from the Lower Elliot Formation (Norian, Late Triassic) of South Africa. Originally it was described as a large herrerasaurian but later workers failed to find any derived characters that could conclusively place it closer to Herrerasauridae than to any other dinosaurs. Usually it is simply regarded as Dinosauria incertae sedis, although the hypothesis that it was a relatively basal taxon that was primitively carnivorous has persisted.
This hypothesis has been bolstered by the referral of an isolated maxilla from the type locality to A. rex. In 2003 a second Aliwalia rex femur was found in the Lower Elliot Formation by a team from Bernard Price Institute, University of Witwatersrand. In this case the femur was associated with other postcranial bones that show clear sauropodomorph synapomorphies.
Examination of collections at the Transvaal Museum and the Council for Geoscience in Pretoria has shown this is not the first association of Aliwalia-type femurs with sauropodomorph bones. Indeed one of these associations has been named: Eucnemesaurus fortis (Hoepen van, 1920).
It is clear that these associations real and are not fortuitous taphonomic accidents. Indeed the femurs themselves display the derived sauropodomorph synapomorphy of a proximo-distally elongated, ridge-like lesser trochanter. Several prosauropod grade sauropodomorph such as Massospondylus carinatus, Lufengosaurus hunei and Riojasaurus incertus also display the distinctive semi-pendant fourth trochanter that has been used to diagnose Aliwalia rex. These specimens represent a distinctive taxon of prosauropod-grade sauropodomorph and the forgotten Eucnemesaurus fortis is its valid name.
Aliwalia rex is a junior synonym of Eucnemesaurus fortis. Amongst sauropodomorphs E. fortis shares a large posterior tubercle on the proximal femur with Riojasaurus incertus (a reversal to a non-dinosaurian character state). Cladistic analysis of basal sauropodomorph relationships finds that Riojasaurus and Eucnemesaurus are sister taxa within a large clade that also contains Massospondylidae, Yunnanosaurus, Anchisauridae, Melanorosauridae, Antetonitrus and traditional sauropods (Vulcanodontidae and [Eusauropoda]) to the exclusion of Plateosauridae and more basal sauropodomorphs.Thus, Aliwalia rex is regarded by Adam Yates as a junior synonym of Eucnemesaurus fortis.
Source Adam M. Yates (2005)