Metriacanthosaurus

Name: Metriacanthosaurus ‭(‬Moderately spined lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Met-ree-ah-can-foe-sore-us.
Named By: Alick Walker‭ ‬-‭ ‬1964.
Synonyms: Megalosaurus parkeri,‭ ‬Altispinax parkeri.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Allosauroidea,‭ ‬Sinraptoridae,‭ ‬Metriacanthosaurinae.
Species: M.‭ ‬parkeri‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
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.

       Like 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.

Further reading
- 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.



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