Named By: Fredrich von Huene - 1932.
Synonyms: Megalosaurus bredai.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Ceratosauria, Abelisauridae?
Species: B. bredai (type).
Size: Uncertain due to incomplete remains.
Known locations: Netherlands.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial right femur.
from the late Cretaceous period of Europe, Betasuchus
known as a species of Megalosaurus,
the first genus of dinosaur,
and theropod to be named which saw it being treated as a
‘wastebasket’ for all future theropod remains until more in depth
study into dinosaurs began to be conducted. This classification
continued until Fredrich von Huene studied the fossil and found it was
a different genus to Megalosaurus (a fate that
would carry through to
most of the fossils that were at one time attributed to
Megalosaurus). von Huene however thought that
the bone belonged to
an ornithomimosaurid dinosaur and since this was the second specimen
that he was moving to the Ornithomimidae he named it Betasuchus
reference to it being the ‘B’ specimen.
The above classification continued for some time with others including Dale Russel confirming the placement in 1972. However in 1991 Jean le Loeuff and Eric Buffetaut declared the specimen to be an abelisaurid, the same year that they named another abelisaurid called Tarascosaurus, although also from scant fossil material. This definition was based upon similarities in the femur to that of Carnotaurus, a large abelisaurid from South America. The problem with this classification is that as a group the abelisaurs were only known from southern continents like South America and Africa, something which today concludes some palaeontologists to disagree with this classification. An even later study in 1997 by Carpenter, Russell and Baird concluded that Betasuchus is related to the tyrannosaurid Dryptosaurus, itself only known from incomplete fossil remains.