|Named By:||Richard J. Butler, Roger M. H. Smith & David B. Norman in 2007|
|Time Period:||Late Triassic or Early Jurassic|
|Location:||South Africa - Lower Elliot Formation|
|Size:||About 1 meter long|
|Fossil(s):||With the exception of the tail and ribs, most of the post cranial skeleton is known as well as skull fragments|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Reptilia | Dinosauria | Ornithischia ||
Eocursor (meaning "dawn runner") was a primitive genus of dinosaur. It was an ornithischian which lived in what is now South Africa. Remains of this animal have been found in the Lower Elliot Formation and might be the most complete known from a Triassic ornithischian, shedding new light on the origin of this group.
The exact age of this taxon is uncertain. It was originally interprereted as living during the Late Triassic (Norian age), around 210 million years ago; however, Olsen, Kent & Whiteside (2010) stated that there is no independent geochronological support for its assumed age, and the available data makes it impossible to conclusively determine whether Eocursor is of Triassic or Early Jurassic (potentially as young as Sinemurian) age.
Fossils of Eocursor were originally collected in 1993, but were not formally described until fourteen years later. The type species, Eocursor parvus, was described in 2007 by Richard J. Butler, Roger M. H. Smith, and David B. Norman. Eocursor was one of the earliest known ornithischians, and sheds some light on early dinosaur relationships because early dinosaurs are known from mostly incomplete skeletons. Eocursor is known from partial skeletal elements, including skull fragments, spinal elements, pelvis, long leg bones, and unusually large grasping hands.