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MAGNOSAURUS

a meat-eating megalosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of England.
magnosaurus.png
Pronunciation: mag-no-SOR-us
Meaning: Great lizard
Author/s: von Huene (1923)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Dorset, England
Chart Position: 101

Magnosaurus nethercombensis

In a nine year spell between 1923 and 1932, Friedrich von Huene embarked on a mind-bending Megalosaurus naming/renaming extravaganza and seven years later England declared war on Germany. We don't think it was a coincidence!

(Crash!) In 1923 he named a partial skeleton (OUM J12143) found by James Parker in Dorset's inferior Oolite Megalosaurus nethercombensis.

(Bang!) In 1926 he named Megalosaurus lydekkeri based on a single tooth (BMNH 41352) from the Lower Lias of Dorset, England, that Richard Lydekker first mentioned way back in 1888.

(Wallop!) In a 1932 paper he nominated Megalosaurus nethercombensis as the type specimen of Magnosaurus, assigned Megalosaurus lydekkeri to it as a second species, then shunted a tibia (BMNH R.3542) from the Lower Lias, originally named Megalosaurus woodwardi by Lydekker in 1911 (in honor of Arthur Smith Woodward who simply described it as "megalosaurian" in 1908) into Magnosaurus Woodwardi and managed to name Sarcosaurus andrewsi... based on the very same shinbone!

During this period he also meddled with Megalosaurus dunkeri, Megalosaurus oweni and Altispinax which eventually led to Becklespinax and Valdosaurus, and in 1956 he righted his earlier faux pas and ever so quietly buried Magnosaurus Woodwardi in favour of Sarcosaurus andrewsi, but he was rumbled, and everyone laughed.

Despite its infamy, Megalosaurus and its brethren are still relatively misunderstood and Magnosaurus—a megalosaurid that some experts accuse of being indistinguishable from Eustreptospondylus—is a bit of a let-down. In 1988 Greg Paul estimated its length and mass to be a far from flabbergasting 4 meters and 175kg (though its remains may actually belong to a juvenile) and even after a 2010 review by Roger Benson and an upscale to half a ton in mass it's still nothing to write home about.

On the plus side, Benson proved beyond doubt that Magnosaurus is a valid species distinct from all other European Middle Jurassic theropods, and the oldest definitive tetanuran to boot, though an as-yet undescribed Italian critter may prove to be a good 20 million years older if its rocky tomb has been correctly dated and its remains are, in fact, diagnostic.
Etymology
Magnosaurus is derived from the Latin "magnus" (great, large) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard) alluding to its "great size". (It was considered huge back in the day!).
The species epithet (or specific name), nethercombensis, is derived from "Nethercombe" (its place of discovery) and the Latin "ensis" (from).
Discovery
The first remains of Magnosaurus were discovered in the inferior Oolite sediments at Nethercombe, north of Sherborne, Dorset, England, by James Parker sometime in the nineteenth century. The holotype (UMO J12143) includes partial tooth-bearing jaw bones, vertebrae and hip bones, and internal casts of hindlimb bones, probably from a juvenile.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Middle Jurassic
Stage: Aalenian-Bajocian
Age range: 175-168 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 4 meters
Est. max. hip height: 1.4 meters
Est. max. weight: 500 Kg
Diet: Carnivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Theropoda
Tetanurae
Megalosauroidea
Megalosauridae
Magnosaurus
nethercombensis
References
• A.S. Woodward (1908) "Note on a megalosaurian tibia from the Lower Lias of Wilmcote, Warwickshire".
• T.R. Holtz Jr, R.E. Molnar, P.J. Currie (2004) "Basal Tetanurae" in Weishampel, Dodson, Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• Roger B. J. Benson (2010) "The osteology of Magnosaurus nethercombensis (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from the Bajocian (Middle Jurassic) of the United Kingdom and a re-examination of the oldest records of tetanurans".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "MAGNOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 29th Mar 2017.
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