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Metriacanthosaurus (Sergey Krasovskiy)


Metriacanthosaurus (Greek for "moderate-spined lizard"); pronounced MET-ree-ah-CAN-tho-SORE-us


Woodlands of western Europe

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic (160-150 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 25 feet long and one ton



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; short spines on backbone


About Metriacanthosaurus:

Not the most euphoniously named of all dinosaurs, Metriacanthosaurus was mistakenly classified as a species of Megalosaurus when its incomplete fossil was discovered in 1923--not an uncommon occurrence, since many large theropods of the Jurassic period started out under the Megalosaurus umbrella. We still don't know a whole lot about this dinosaur, except that the short spines jutting out from its vertebrae may have supported a slender hump or sail--a hint that Metriacanthosaurus may have been more ancestral to more famous spined carnivores like Spinosaurus.

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