UCT PhD student Miengah Abrahams (1.6 metres tall) lies next to the megatheropod tracks found in western Lesotho © UCT

Footprints of a carnivorous dinosaur that roamed Southern Africa approximately 200 million years ago were discovered in western Lesotho by an international team of researchers, led by scientists from the University of Cape Town. 

The footprints measure 57cm long and 50cm wide.

Kayentapus ambrokholohali footprints were found on an informal road near the National University of Lesotho at Roma. These are the largest theropod trackways found in Africa and belong to an animal of about 26 feet long, dwarfing all the life around it. Picture: L. Sciscio , E. M. Bordy, M. Abrahams, F. Knoll, B. W. McPhee.

In a paper published in October on PLOS One, the dinosaur has been classified informally as a ‘megatheropod’, and is called Kayentapus ambrokholohali – thought to be a relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

With these measurements, the team of South African, UK and Brazilian researchers believe the dinosaur was at least nine metres long and had a hip height of almost three metres, making this the largest therapod tracks during this time period ever found in Africa.

A UCT-led team has discovered a ‘mega-carnivore’ that roamed southern Africa 200 million years ago. This picture is the estimated size of the mega-theropod based on the footprints discovered in Lesotho. Picture: SCOTT HARTMAN

The statement adds that because large forms of theropods only started to appear about 120 million years later – during the Late Jurassic period – that this new discovery of this megatheropod is more “scientifically impactful”.