Fossils were uncovered in Tanzania and date back to the Anisian stage of the Middle Triassic period. It was described in 2010 by a team of researchers from the U.S., Germany, and South Africa, in the journal Nature; the type species is A.kongwe. It is the first example of an avian-line radiation during the Anisian; with the diversification of archosaurs during this time previously only documented from crocodylian-line archosaurs. It is the first non-dinosaurian dinosauriform recovered from Africa.
Asilisaurus measured from 3–10 feet long and 2–3 feet high at the hip, weighed 20-70 pounds.