Named By: Scott D. Sampson, Matthew Carrano, and Catherine A. Forster - 2001.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Abelisauroidea, Noasauridae.
Species: M. knopfleri (type).
Size: 1.8 - 2 meters long.
Known locations: Madagascar, Maevarano Formation.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Parts of skull and post cranial skeleton. Combined remains make over half of a complete specimen. Two sets of remains have so far been discovered.
Masiakasurus remains were described in 2001,
and a second set
of remains were recovered in 2011. This has allowed some of the
original gaps including the premaxilla to be included with the overall
most striking feature of
Masiakasaurus is the way the front teeth point
forward and out of the
mouth. Furthermore the front teeth curve upwards at the end creating
a hooking action. This would have greatly increased the ability of
Masiakasaurus to catch small, fast moving prey.
conception for Masiakasaurus’s predatory lifestyle
is using its
specialised teeth to snatch fish from the waters edge.
Recovered fossil material suggests what would appear to be two be two forms of Masiakasaurus, with one being more heavily built and the other more agile. It is as yet unclear if one is a sub species of the other, or if this represents sexual dimorphism in this dinosaur.
Masiakasaurus is not just famous for its teeth but for the type species being named after the musician Mark Knopfler.
- A bizarre predatory dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. - Nature 409 (6819): 504–506. - S. D. Sampson, M. T. Carrano & C. A. Forster - 2001.
- The osteology of Masiakasaurus knopfleri, a small abelisauroid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar . Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22 (3): 510–534. - M. T. Carrano, S. D. Sampson & C. A. Forster - 2002.
- New materials of Masiakasaurus knopfleri Sampson, Carrano, and Forster, 2001, and implications for the morphology of the Noasauridae (Theropoda: Ceratosauria). - Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 95: 53pp. - M. T. Carrano, M. T. Loewen & J. J. W. Sertic - 2011.
- Bone histology confirms determinate growth and small body size in the noasaurid theropod Masiakasaurus knopfleri. - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33(4): 865-876. - Andrew H. Lee & Patrick M. O’Connor - 2013.