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Re: Aliwalia Rex?

In a message dated 2/23/02 7:22:09 PM EST, dachande@west.com.br writes:

<< I was looking trough a list of early dinosaurs, and this one came to my
 atention, DinoData, the place where I was searching says it mesures 11m
 in length.
 Dose anyone know if this data is corect? >>

Here is an excerpt from one of my unedited and still pretty rough 
dinosaur-book manuscripts on Aliwalia:


Order: Herrerasauria
    Family: Herrerasauridae?

Describer: Peter Malcolm Galton
Year described: 1985
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


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
    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 MusÃe 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 
    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 decadesâas late as the 1970sâconveyed 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 fÃr 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