Fun Malawisaurus Facts For Kids

Sharon Judith
Nov 30, 2022 By Sharon Judith
Originally Published on Sep 27, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Malawisaurus dinosaurs are titanosaurs had long necks like giraffes. Read on to discover more interesting Malawisaurus facts that you're sure to love!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

These heavy and bulky yet small Titanosaurs came from the Titanosauridae family and were a genus of a titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur. It lived in what is now present-day Malawi and other parts of Africa during the early to middle Cretaceous period about 112-121 million years ago. This dinosaur has had a long history of being removed and placed in different classifications repeatedly. The Malawisaurus dixeyi fossils were initially described by Sidney H. Haughton as a species of Gigantosaurus which was found in the 'dinosaur beds' of Malawi, now known as Tornieria. In 1993, it was placed in the newly named genus Malawisaurus by Louis L. Jacobs and his colleagues, based on collected new material. This relatively small titanosaurid sauropod dinosaur had a long neck and a long tail like most sauropods. The middle part of its body is described to be quite rounded and big. The head took on a squarish shape with large nasal holes in the skull. Along with Loius L. Jacobs, various other scientists like Kate A. Andrzejewski, Michael J. Polcyn, Dale A. Winkler, Elizabeth Gomani Chindebvu, studied the braincase of this dinosaur in great detail and made a lot of inferences from them. They claimed that these holes must have helped these large animals to keep cool in a dry and humid climate. They were believed to have been the largest and the most common group of animals to have walked the earth at that time. The Malawisaurus dinosaur probably wouldn’t have been the fastest of them all in general, though of course, it’s difficult to tell for certain. Many scientists view this creature as an independent organism but closely related to the Titanosaur. Like all other Titanosauria species of dinosaurs, they had armored dermal scales across the whole length of their backs that would have protected them from their predators. It is one of the few Titanosaurs whose skull material has only been discovered. It was also believed to have existed outside of Malawi in the Alcantra formation of Brazil. The made-up skeleton of the Malawisaurus now exists in the Cultural and Museum Centre Karonga in Malawi.

If you'd like to learn and discover more about similar dinosaurs, check out ourAmargasaurus interesting facts for kids and Velocisaurus fun facts for kids that you're to enjoy!

Malawisaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Malawisaurus'?

It is pronounced as 'Ma-la-wee-sore-us'.

What type of dinosaur was a Malawisaurus?

This species was a small titanosaurid sauropod dinosaur and was part of the few Titanosaurs for which the skull material has been discovered. In fact, there in the sauropod family, this dinosaur is the smallest.

In which geological period did Malawisaurus roam the earth?

These dinosaurs roamed the earth during the early to middle cretaceous period and were believed to have been the most common and largest group of dinosaurs to have walked the earth at that time.

When did the Malawisaurus become extinct?

Malawisaurus dixeyi became extinct about 85 million years ago, having lived for about 112-121 million years. The reasons for them being extinct today could possibly be because of natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, sandstorms, or even meteorite hits!

Where did Malawisaurus live?

Research has stated that these dinosaurs that belong to the Dinosauria clade made their habits near riverbeds, estuaries, or plains with lakes.

What was the Malawisaurus' habitat?

Having live in the cretaceous period, these sauropods preferred living near places with water. The Malawisaurus environment or ecosystem consisted of a lot of plant matter and muddy habitats. These habits were also shared by other reptilian dinosaurs and species like fishes, crustaceans, frogs, and turtles.

Who did Malawisaurus live with?

Research has suggested that this dinosaur, which lived in the Late Jurassic to the early cretaceous period, must have been quite social and so, lived in groups of small numbers.

How long did a Malawisaurus live?

The exact or accurate time period for how long this dinosaur lived is not known.

How did they reproduce?

Scientists are still trying to learn more about the manner in which this non-wild dinosaur reproduced. Their breeding pattern must have definitely been similar to that of reptiles. These species were known to lay about one to two eggs, sometimes going up to three.

Malawisaurus Fun Facts

What did Malawisaurus look like?

This dinosaur is one of the few Titanosaurs whose skull material has been and is suspected to have a long neck, a round body, and a long tail.

Scientists noted that these dinosaurs must have dominated the Cretaceous landscape. Among the sauropod family, they were quite small in size. Having only found fossil material of their skulls and recently, their teeth, research has been able to find two morphs of the Malawisaurus dinosaur. This distinction was made with the variations found in the Malawisaurus vertebrae of the neck and tail. In this dinosaur, the vertebrae of their tail had spaces between each other, contributing to the fact that they had stiff tails. They had a long neck and a squarish neck. The teeth, from recent material discovered, are like thick pegs which would have made it easy to pull leaves and plants.

How many bones did a Malawisaurus have?

Only a cast of the Malawisaurus skeletal structure has been made currently since the only material found to date is the Malawisaurus skull fossil and some tooth remains. Because of this, it is difficult to establish how many bones they had in total but, for sure, it would have been about 200 bones or more!

How did they communicate?

This dinosaur, like all other dinosaur species, would have communicated by visual and vocal displays such as loud growls, head butts, roars, and so on.

How big was the Malawisaurus?

This species of Titanosaurs were very large and almost gigantic with dermal scales on them which acted as armor. This is probably also why Haughton, back in history, must have initially called it a Gigantosaurus. They are about 36 ft (11 m) in length and four times taller than a giraffe.

How fast could a Malawisaurus move?

This dinosaur, which lived in the late Jurassic age to the early cretaceous period, was surprisingly very slow. This could have been due to the fact that it had a large body mass and making quick movements would have been difficult.

How much did a Malawisaurus weigh?

Malawisaurus, closely related to the Titanosaurus, weighed about 6173 lb (2800 kg), about the same as the extinct Diprotodon optatum, which looked like a really big bear!

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific male or female names of these species that were originally named by Louis L. Jacobs and Elizabeth Gomani Chindebvu. They go by their common name which is Malawisaurus or, scientifically, Malawisaurus dixeyi.

What would you call a baby Malawisaurus?

A baby Malawisaurus is called a hatchling or nestling, just like the babies of other dinosaurs. It is not known how these small sauropods would have provided parental care but they would have laid eggs in a small number.

What did they eat?

Malawisaurus, from the Sauropoda taxonomy, was a herbivore. Their herbivorous diet involved a lot of plants, leaves, and thick vegetation. Apart from having to share their habit with other species like reptiles, frogs, and crustaceans, they also shared similar eating patterns with other herbivorous animals like sheep, deers, cows, and other cattle.

How aggressive were they?

These relatively small sauropods with dermal scales on them were quite non-aggressive and did not possess the usual wild nature that dinosaurs had. They moved slowly from habitat to habitat looking for more food in small groups or herds.

Did you know...

Malawisaurus also shared a fossil bed with Homo rudolfensis or in clearer terms, an early man who was a 2.5 million-year-old human, and this helped inspire the Cultural and Museum Centre Karonga. The Malawi skeleton proved to provide a great boost for cultural exchange and tourist attraction to this particular museum.

What does Malawisaurus mean?

The name Malawisaurus literally means 'lizard from Malawi'. The lizard part has been attached to its name since these dinosaurs are also sauropods and sauropods are considered to be 'lizard-hipped dinosaurs'!

Where was the Malawisaurus discovered?

The Malawisaurus fossil or in particular, the Malawisaurus skull, as their name goes, was discovered in Malawi, Africa, and also in the  Alcantara Formation of Brazil. It was first described by Sidney H. Haughton as a species of Gigantosaurus, which is currently called Tornieria. Scientists believe that this

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Panphagia fun facts for kids, or Vulcanodon interesting facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Malawisaurus coloring pages.

Second image by Michaelphoya.

Malawisaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plants

what Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

1-2 eggs

What Did They Look Like?

N/A

How Much Did They Weigh?

6173 lb (2800 kg)

Skin Type

Scales

How Long Were They?

36 ft (11 m)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Reptile

Genus

Malawisaurus

Family

Titanosauridae

Scientific Name

Malawisaurus dixeyi

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

River beds, plains, lakes

Where Did They Live?

Africa
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Written by Sharon Judith

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

Sharon Judith picture

Sharon JudithBachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

A humanities and Science student, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology from Mount Carmel College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Science from Bournemouth University. She is passionate about research, content writing, and development, and has a keen interest in international finance and economics. With her strong analytical skills and inquisitive mind, she is always striving to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these subjects.

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