Tawa, named after the Hopi word for the Puebloan sun god, is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Late Triassic Period (215-213 million years ago). A partial skeleton was discovered in 2004 and two nearly complete skeletons were excavated in 2006 from the Hayden Quarry at ghost Ranch in New Mexico, in the Chinle Formation.
Tawa’s discovery is significant and suggests that the earliest dinosaurs arose on the ancient continent Gondwanaland and spread out as the southern continent broke up. The type species, T. hallae, honoring Ruth Hall, founder of the Ghost Ranch Museum of Paleontology, consisted of a mostly complete skull and postcranial skeleton belonging to a juvenile.
Fossils of at least seven other individuals were also discovered at the site. All of the specimens found date to between 215 to 213 million years ago. Tawa was described in 2009 by a group of six American researchers led by Sterling J. Nesbitt of the American Museum of Natural History.
Tawa was a carnivorous dinosaur measuring about 6.5 feet long when full grown.