Named By: Friedrich von Huene - 1923.
Synonyms: Erectopus sauvagei, Megalosaurus superbus.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Carnosauria.
Species: E. superbus (type).
Size: Comparison to allosauroid theropods suggest a length of about 3 meters for the holotype.
Known locations: France.
Time period: Albian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial maxilla (upper jaw) as well as partial post cranial fossils.
taxonomic history of Erectopus is a little
muddled, but to begin with
Erectopus was named as a species of Megalosaurus,
This was in 1882 when Henri-Émile Sauvage added fossil remains to
a private collection owned by Louis Pierson that had first been
described in 1875 by Charles Barrois. Then when the fossils
were studied by Friedrich von Huene they were concluded to not
represent a species of Megalosaurus. The result
was that the fossils
were named as Erectopus sauvagei, while others
After the death of Pierson his private fossil collection was broken up with the fossils going to many, and often unrecorded destinations. As a result the genus Erectopus fell into obscurity and feared lost. But then towards the end of the twentieth century the original partial maxilla was found to be with a fossil dealer in Paris, while casts of the original bones were found stored in the National Museum of Natural History, also in Paris. In 2005 Ronan Allain wrote a new study concerning Erectopus, which resulted in the type species name being established as Erectopus superbus in order to include all of the original fossil material, with the maxilla as lectotype.
As an actual dinosaur, Erectopus seems to have been similar to the genus Allosaurus, and so Erectopus is regarded as a carnosaur. The holotype of Erectopus however seems to have been towards the smaller end of the scale for a theropod dinosaur, and so was probably a predator of other small dinosaurs.
- Les reptiles du terrain Crétacé du nord-est du Bassin de Paris. - Bulletin scientifique, historique et littéraire du Nord, 6: 1-11. - C. Barrois - 1875.
- Notes sur les reptiles fossiles. - Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France, 4: 435-442. - H. -É. Sauvage - 1876.
- Recherches sur les reptiles trouvés dans le Gault de l'est du bassin de Paris. - Mémoires de la Société Géologique de France, série 3 2(4): 1-42. - H. -É. Sauvage - 1882.
- Carnivorous Saurischia in Europe since the Triassic. - Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 34:449-458. - F. v. Huene - 1923.
- The enigmatic theropod dinosaur Erectopus superbus (Sauvage, 1882) from the Lower Albian of Louppy-le-Château (Meuse, France), by Ronan Allain. In The Carnivorous Dinosaurs (Indiana University Press), K. carpenter eds. - 2005.