Melanorosaurus is a genus of basal sauropodomorphs from the late Triassic.


Its name translate as : 'Black Mountain lizard'. It was a herbivore from South Africa. Sturdy limps suggest that it walked on fours. Around 8 metres long and 1.3 metric tons. Melanorosaurus was a later Sauropodomorph, the group of dinosaurs that includes Sauropods and their close relatives (aka, “Prosauropods”).

Melanorosaurus was technically not a Sauropod, but it does highlight how these quadrupedal behemoths evolved from basic dinosaur precursors. Melanorosaurus would have been an herbivore, but it may have fed occasionally on small animals to supplement its diet, especially since Melanorosaurus had the teeth of its omnivorous precursors.

It was quadrupedal, but with awkward front feet still retaining hand-like qualities of its forefathers. The hindlimbs were more sturdy, and in general the pillar-like proportions of the limbs helped to hold up its great weight. It was probably up to 8 meters long and 2 meters tall, making it one of the heaviest animals in its environment - weighing about 1.3 tons. It had a pointed, triangular snout, and teeth like earlier Prosauropods rather than proper Sauropods. It had a short neck and long tail, with a very thick trunk. As for external appearance, there is a question - it was small enough, just, to still have fluff, but it also was big enough to have lost it in the interest of keeping cool. Given it lived in a particularly hot climate, it makes sense that some - if not all - of the warm fluff of its ancestors may have been shed off. That said, it also lived southward - so it’s possible that the Elliot had a cooler environment than other places of the Late Triassic. All in all, the fluff status of Melanorosaurus is a question, so here we present it fluffy to some extent, since most interpretations of it are scaly.