Source: Discovery News
By Jennifer Viegas
A Labrador retriever-sized animal that lived 243 million years ago and sported a five foot-long tail may be the oldest dinosaur ever found.
The dinosaur, described in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, was unearthed near present-day Lake Nyasa in Tanzania. It is named Nyasasaurus parringtoni, which combines the name Nyasa with the term for lizard. The name also honors Rex Parrington, a University of Cambridge paleontologist who first discovered the fossils.
Nyasasaurus walked the Earth about 10 million years before the current oldest dinosaur record holders — such as swift-footed Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus — suggesting that dinosaurs emerged in the Middle Triassic rather than in the latter years of that period. It also suggests that dinosaurs began as relatively small before some species grew to larger sizes. – Read the full article