(Moderately spined lizard).
Named By: Alick Walker - 1964.
Synonyms: Megalosaurus parkeri, Altispinax parkeri.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Allosauroidea, Sinraptoridae, Metriacanthosaurinae.
Species: M. parkeri (type).
Size: Uncertain due to lack of remains, but comparison to similar theropod dinosaurs yields rough estimates of about 6 meters long for the holotype.
Known locations: England - Oxford Clay.
Time period: Oxfordian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial post cranial remains.
with many early theropods, especially European ones,
Metriacanthosaurus was originally named as a
species of Megalosaurus,
a dinosaur that in the early years of palaeontology ended up being
used as a wastebasket taxon for almost any theropod remains. The
initial naming was made by the German palaeontologist Friedrich von
Huene, who named the species Megalosaurus parkeri,
in honour of W.
Parker who had recovered the remains from Weymouth. In 1932 von
Huene moved them over to Altispinax
due to the
fossils tall neural
spines of the vertebrae.
The current name of Metriacanthosaurus did not come about until 1964 when Alick Walker made a special note of the size of the neural spines. These neural spines are taller than those of Megalosaurus, but shorter than those of Altispinax, leading to the name Metriacanthosaurus which means ‘moderately spined lizard’. In life these neural spines probably would have supported a low hump like growth possibly similar to that of the North American Acrocanthosaurus of the early Cretaceous.
Metriacanthosaurus is classed as a sinraptorid theropod that is thought to be closely related to the Asian Yangchuanosaurus.
- Carnivorous Saurischia in Europe since the Triassic. - Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 34: 449–458. - F. von Huene - 1923.
- Triassic reptiles from the Elgin area: Ornithosuchus and the origin of carnosaurs. - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 248:53-134. - A. D. Walker - 1964.