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BETASUCHUS

an abelisauroid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Holland.
Pronunciation: BAYT-uh-SOOK-us
Meaning: 'B' crocodile
Author/s: von Huene (1923)
Synonyms: Megalosaurus bredai
First Discovery: Maastricht, Holland
Chart Position: 99

Betasuchus bredai

Discovered in the Netherlands near Maastricht, Betasuchus is known only from a single, incomplete femur that took a bit of a battering at the hands of ham-fisted quarrymen during extraction. Bow-saws are never the best tools for precision excavations, and to top it off they never even bothered to log the temporal horizon. Sheesh.

It was first described as Megalosaurus bredai by Harry Govier Seeley in 1883 in honor of the late Dutch geologist Jacob Gijsbertus Samuel van Breda, but von Huene is never far away when there is Megalosaurus muck to wallow in. Assuming it was actually a second hitherto unknown species of ornithomimosaur, he gave it the provisional title "Ornithomimidorum gen. b" in 1926 before officially renaming it Betasuchus in 1932. For clarity; "Ornithomimidorum gen. a" was initially known as Megalosaurus lonzeensis (Dollo, 1903), and Oskar Kuhn transferred it to Ornithomimus in 1965.

Being known from such meagre fossils, the appearance of Betasuchus is, well, uncertain, but it has been the subject of much moving and shaking on the theropod family tree. David Norman labelled it a nomen dubium (1990), le Loeuff and Buffetaut considered it an abelisaur close to Tarascosaurus (1991), and Carpenter and Baird were convinced it was a tyrannosauroid akin to Dryptosaurus (1997). Dale Russell, however, tagged it a "nomen vanum" (failed emendation) in 1972 claiming dinosaurs that are based upon undiognostic remains are in no position to be accepting new names, and all things considered he may have a valid point.
Etymology
Betasuchus is derived from the Greek "beta" (second letter of their alphabet) and "soukhos" (crocodile) alluding to von Huene's designation of the species as "Ornithomimidorum genus b" - a hitherto unknown genus of ornithomimid.
The species epithet, bredai, is named for the late Dutch biologist and geologist Jacob Gijsbertus Samuel van Breda.
Discovery
The remains of Betasuchus were discovered at the St Pietersberg chalkstone quarry (aka the Maastrict theropod site) in the Maastricht Formation, Limburg, Holland.
The holotype (NHM R 42997) is a partial right femur (312 mm long). In keeping with the chopping-and-changing theme, the holotype was originally catalogued as BMNH 42997.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Maastrichtian
Age range: 71-66 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: ?
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: ?
Diet: Carnivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Theropoda
Ceratosauria
Abelisauroidea?
Betasuchus
bredai
References
• Seeley (1883) "On the dinosaurs from the Maastricht beds".
• D.B. Norman (1990) Problematic Theropoda: "Coelurosaurs" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria".
• R.S. Tykoski and T. Rowe (2004) "Ceratosauria" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition". /uk.
• Dollo, L. (1903) "Les dinosauriens de la Belgique". (Megalosaurus lonzeensis)
• Von Huene, F. (1926) "The carnivorous Saurischia in the Jura and Cretaceous formations, principally in Europe". ("Ornithomimidorum gen. a. / gen. b.")
• Kuhn, O. (1965) "Saurischia (Supplementum 1)". In: Fossilium Catalogus 1. Animalia. 109: 1-94. (Ornithomimus lonzeensis)
• Glut, D. (1997) "Dinosaurs: The Encyclopedia (2012, Reprint)". /uk (Struthiomimus lonzeensis)
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "BETASUCHUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 27th Mar 2017.
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