Environment

Which Was The First Dinosaur To Walk The Earth?

The first dinosaurs walked the Earth around 243 million years ago.

Nyasasaurus Parringtoni is believed to be the earliest dinosaur to have ever lived on Earth. It predates all other dinosaurs by more than 10 million years. According to scientists, if this ancient-of-the-ancient is not the oldest dinosaur, then at least it is the closest relative to the earliest dinosaurs ever discovered. The dinosaur was first described by Alan J. Charing in the 1950s, in his doctoral thesis, but it was not until 2013 when it was formally described. Initially, the records of the earliest dinosaur were dated to the late Carnian age, which is approximately 231.4 million years ago. Nyasasaurus pirringtoni is believed to have walked the earth in the middle Triassic era, which is about 243 million years ago. The fossil of the dinosaur was discovered in Tanzania near Lake Nyasa, and the name Nyasasaurus means Lake Nyasa lizard.

Description

The only fossil found of the dinosaur was from the upper arm together with some backbone. The fossils were discovered in Ruhuhu Basin in the Southern part of Tanzania near Lake Nyasa. Although the discovery was made in the 1930s, In-depth study and description work were carried out recently. Very little is known about Nyasasaurus, and scientists deduce that it must have been between 6.5 feet and 10 feet long, including the tail. It is believed that the tail alone was about five feet and therefore the dinosaur must have been the size of a Labrador retriever dog. Since the skull bones were not found, the diet of the dinosaur has not been established. However, the fossils found show that the creature had the distinctive characteristics linking it to dinosaurs. It had a deltopectoral crest, which is a bony crest running along the upper arm bone. The bone holds the muscles on the shoulder to the upper arm bone. All dinosaurs had this unique elongated crest

Origin Of The Dinosaur

Following the discovery of Nyasasaurus parringtoni dinosaur in Tanzania, the scientists now believe that all dinosaurs originated in the Southern region of the supercontinent when the earth had only one continent (Pangaea), which is now part of India, Australia, Antarctica, Madagascar, Africa, and South America. The discovery suggests that the dinosaurs evolved during the middle Triassic epoch.

Name Of The Dinosaur

The dinosaur was named after the late professor Francis Rex Parrington. In the 1950s, Parrington was the supervisor of Alan J. Charig when he was studying for his PhD. Sterling Nesbitt published about Nyasasaurus parringtoni in 2012, and the late Charig was included as a co-author, although at the time Charing was already dead. Nesbitt is an American Paleontologist from the University of Washington. Parrington was a British paleontologist at the University of Cambridge. He was the director of the Cambridge university museum of zoology and a fellow of the Royal Society. Parrington died at the age of 76 on April 17, 1981.

About the Author

  • Benjamin Elisha Sawe
  • Writer

Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor. 

Citations

Your MLA Citation

Your APA Citation

Your Chicago Citation

Your Harvard Citation

Remember to italicize the title of this article in your Harvard citation.

More in Environment