The pseudosuchian archosaur Mambawakale ruhuhu is among the larger-headed archosaurs from the Middle to Late Triassic.
Mambawakale ruhuhu lived in what is now Tanzania during the Middle Triassic period, some 240 million years ago.
“It would have been a large and terrifying predator, which roamed across Tanzania some 240 million years ago,” said University of Birmingham’s Professor Richard Butler.
“At around 5 m (16.4 feet) long, it’s one of the largest predators that we know of from this period.”
The fossilized remains of Mambawakale ruhuhu — a partial skull, lower jaw, several vertebrae and a hand — were collected from the Manda Beds (also known as the Manda Formation), a geological formation in southern Tanzania, in 1963.
From these, Professor Butler and his colleagues were able to identify several distinctive features that set it apart from other archosaurs found in the Manda Beds.
These included a large skull, more than 75 cm (29.5 inches) in length, and a particularly large nostril, as well as a notably narrow lower jaw and strong variation in the sizes of the teeth at the front of the upper jaws.
“Mambawakale ruhuhu is characterized by several cranial autapomorphies that allow it to be distinguished with confidence from all other Manda Beds archosaurs, with the possible exception of Stagonosuchus nyassicus for which comparisons are highly constrained due to very limited overlapping material,” the paleontologists said.
“Phylogenetic analysis suggests that Mambawakale ruhuhu is an early diverging pseudosuchian, but more precise resolution is hampered by missing data.”
“The species is also one of the largest known pseudosuchians recovered to date from the Middle Triassic.”
A paper describing Mambawakale ruhuhu was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
Richard J. Butler et al. 2022. A new pseudosuchian archosaur, Mambawakale ruhuhu gen. et sp. nov., from the Middle Triassic Manda Beds of Tanzania. R. Soc. open sci 9 (2): 211622; doi: 10.1098/rsos.211622
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