I'm very proud of my graduate student Blair McPhee, who today described a new species of Early Jurassic dinosaur, Pulanesaura eocollum.
Pulanesaura was relatively small, but it was the first of the true sauropod dinosaurs - long necked giants that attained enormous sizes later in the Jurassic.
The fossils of Pulanesaura were collected on the farm Heelbo in the Free State Province of South Africa. This farm is a dinosaur hotspot, and Pulanesaura is the third new species to be described from there in the last decade. The owners of Heelbo, including the late Mr. Naude Bremer, have supported palaeontology from the very start.
The genus name "Pulane" means "rain-bringer" in Sesotho. It very rainy when fossils of Pulanesaura were excavated, but more importantly "pulane" was the childhood nickname of Mr. Bremer's daughter. It's a small show of gratitude for the support of these farmers over more than a decade!
You can read more about the new dinosaur on co-author Matt Bonnan's blog, or on Wits News.