Blikanasaurus cromptoni is a genus of sauropodomorph dinosaur from the late Triassic of South Africa. The generic name Blikanasaurus is derived from Greek, meaning “lizard from Blikana.” The species name cromptoni is taken from the surname of A.W. “Fuzz” Crompton, an American paleontologist who led numerous field expeditions in Elliot Formation outcrop localities in South Africa. Blikanasaurus is only known from partial hindlimb bones that were recovered from the lower Elliot Formation (LEF) in the Eastern Cape.[1]

Temporal range: Late Triassic, Norian
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Family: Blikanasauridae
Genus: Blikanasaurus
Galton & van Heerden, 1985
B. cromptoni
Binomial name
Blikanasaurus cromptoni
Galton & van Heerden, 1985

History of Discovery

Blikanasaurus was first discovered by a partial hindlimb (epipodium and pes) found in the lower Elliot Formation (LEF) at the foot of Blikana mountain in Herschel, Eastern Cape of South Africa.[2][3] In the early 2000s, a second specimen - consisting of only a right metatarsal - was recovered from lower Elliot Formation deposits on the farm, Damplaats, in Ladybrand of the eastern Free State.[4][5][6] A possible ilium that has been attributed to Blikanasaurus was found recently, although this remains to be confirmed.


As the two known Blikanasaurus specimens are extremely incomplete, very little is understood of this sauropodomorph taxon. The only information that has been deduced is from the bones of its hindlimb anatomy, which are heavily built. This suggests that Blikanasaurus was thickly set and robust.[7][8][9]


Due to its robust build, Blikanasaurus is hypothesized to have been an obligate quadruped, unlike what is characteristic of more derived sauropodomorphs. Due to this feature, Blikanasaurus was thought initially to be a basal sauropod. Blikanasaurus is now considered to be a basal sauropodomorph; however, due to the lack of complete specimens, little remains known about this enigmatic taxon.[10] Some paleontologists claimed a case to group Blikanasaurus within the subfamily Blikanasauridae, but this subfamily has not been formally accepted due to it lacking definitive taxa. The cladogram below displays the currently accepted systematics between Blikanasaurus and other sauropodomorphs.

















  1. ^ Knoll, Fabien (2004). "Review of the tetrapod fauna of the 'Lower Stormberg Group' of the main Karoo Basin (southern Africa) : Implication for the age of the Lower Elliot Formation". Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France. 175: 73–83. doi:10.2113/175.1.73.
  2. ^ Charig, A. J.; Attridge, J.; Crompton, A. W. (1965). "On the origin of the sauropods and the classification of the Saurischia". Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London. 176 (2): 197–221. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.1965.tb00944.x.
  3. ^ Galton, Peter M.; Van Heerden, Jacques (1985). "Partial hindlimb of Blikanasaurus cromptoni n. gen. And n. Sp.,representing a new family of prosauropod dinosaurs from the upper triassic of South Africa". Geobios. 18 (4): 509–516. doi:10.1016/S0016-6995(85)80003-6.
  4. ^ Yates, Adam M.; Kitching, James W. (2003). "The earliest known sauropod dinosaur and the first steps towards sauropod locomotion". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences. 270 (1525): 1753–1758. doi:10.1098/rspb.2003.2417. PMC 1691423. PMID 12965005.
  5. ^ Yates, Adam M. (2003). "A definite prosauropod dinosaur from the Lower Elliot Formation (Norian: Upper Triassic) of South Africa". Palaeontologia Africana. 39. hdl:10539/16435.
  6. ^ Yates, Adam M. (2008-04-04). "A second specimen of Blikanasaurus (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) and the biostratigraphy of the lower Elliot Formation". Palaeontologia Africana. 43. hdl:10539/13807.
  7. ^ Wilson, Jeffrey A. (2005). "Integrating ichnofossil and body fossil records to estimate locomotor posture and spatiotemporal distribution of early sauropod dinosaurs: A stratocladistic approach". Paleobiology. 31 (3): 400–423. doi:10.1666/0094-8373(2005)031[0400:IIABFR]2.0.CO;2.
  8. ^ Upchurch, P.; Barrett, P. M.; Galton, P. M. (2007). Barrett, P. M.; Batten, D. J. (eds.). "A phylogenetic analysis of basal sauropodomorph relationships: Implications for the origin of sauropod dinosaurs". Special Papers in Palaeontology. 77: 57–90.
  9. ^ McPhee, Blair W.; Choiniere, Jonah N. (2016). "A hyper-robust sauropodomorph dinosaur ilium from the Upper Triassic–Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation of South Africa: Implications for the functional diversity of basal Sauropodomorpha". Journal of African Earth Sciences. 123: 177–184. Bibcode:2016JAfES.123..177M. doi:10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2016.08.004.
  10. ^ Peyre De Fabrègues, Claire; Allain, Ronan (2016). "New material and revision of Melanorosaurus thabanensis, a basal sauropodomorph from the Upper Triassic of Lesotho". PeerJ. 4: e1639. doi:10.7717/peerj.1639. PMC 4741091. PMID 26855874.

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