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Saurophaganax (Wikimedia Commons)


Saurophaganax (Greek for "greatest lizard-eater"); pronounced SORE-oh-FAGG-an-axe


Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic (155-150 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 40 feet long and 3-4 tons



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; similarity to Allosaurus


About Saurophaganax:

Between the time the bones of Saurophaganax were dug up in Oklahoma (in the 1930's) and the time they were fully examined (in the 1990's), it dawned on researchers that this large, fierce theropod was most likely a giant species of Allosaurus (in fact, the most notable reconstruction of Saurophaganax, at a museum in Oklahoma City, makes use of fabricated, scaled-up Allosaurus bones). Whatever the case, this fierce carnivore rivaled the later Tyrannosaurus Rex in size, and must have been much feared in its Jurassic heyday. As you might expect given where it was found, Saurophaganax is the official state dinosaur of Oklahoma.

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