Megalosaurus Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Megalosaurus
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Megalosaurus



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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Saurischia
  Suborder Theropoda
  Superfamily Spinosauroidea
  Family Megalosauridae
  Genus Megalosaurus
Megalosaurus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived in Europe (including France Portugal, and southern England), during the middle Jurassic period, between about 181 to 169 million years ago.

Part of Megalosaurus bone was discovered in a quarry in England in 1676. Although it was correctly identified as the femur from a large animal, but it was wrongly thought to be the thigh bone of a giant human! Further discoveries were made in the 19th century, starting from 1815 and acquired by William Buckland. In 1818, French anatomist, Georges Cuvier, visited, and realized the bones were from a giant lizard-like creature, and thus in 1824, Buckland reported and named the animal in a report entitled "Notice on the Megalosaurus or Great Fossil Lizard of Stonesfield". Megalosaurus was in fact the first dinosaur named - in fact it had its name, even before the word dinosaur existed - the term "dinosauria" was only coined by Sir Richard Owen in 1842.

Early reconstructions of Megalosaurus (such as the one found at Dinosaur Court) tend depict the animal as a heavily-built quadruped (to add to the confusion, some early literature refers to all dinosaurs found in Europe as Megalosaurus). We now know however that Megalosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with relatively short fore limbs.

In addition to fossils of Megalosaurus bones, scientists have also discovered fossils of trackways (footprints) made by the animal. A replica of one such trackway can be found on the lawn outside the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.


Megalosaurus Timeline:

Megalosaurus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 181 to 169 million years ago

Megalosaurus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 181 to 169 million years ago

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Megalosaurus Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Megalosaurus:
  1. Megalosaurus was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "Megalosaurus" means "big lizard". It was the first dinosaur named, its name being chosen by William Buckland in 1824.

  3. Megalosaurus was a member of the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Megalosaurus was not closely related to lizards, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.

  4. Megalosaurus was a Theropod - a member of a group of related bipedal dinosaurs that included the ancestors of birds (although Megalosaurus was not itself an ancestor of birds).

  5. Megalosaurus lived between about 181 million years ago and 169 million years ago, during the Jurassic period.

  6. Megalosaurus lived in Europe (including England, France, and Portugal).

  7. Megalosaurus was a carnivore (meat-eater).

  8. Megalosaurus was about 30 feet (9 meters) long.

  9. Megalosaurus weighed about 1 ton.

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