Pronunciation: met-ree-a-KAN-tho-SOR-us Meaning: Moderately-spined lizard Author/s: von Huene (1923) Synonyms: See below First Discovery: Weymouth, England Chart Position: 105
In 1923 German Paleontologist Friedrich von Huene wrote a paper on European carnivorous dinosaurs and surprised absolutely no-one when he examined an incomplete hip, a leg bone, and part of a backbone, and announced a new species of Megalosaurus—Megalosaurus parkeri. He did this a lot. What he also did a lot was reexamine his previously coined dinosaurs and assign them new names, and in 1932 Megalosaurus parkeri became Altispinax parkeri, even though the typical Altispinax "high spines" were notable by their absence. In the 1960s Alick Walker realised these fossils were nothing like Megalosaurus or Altispinax (whose name prompting "high spines" have since been renamed Becklespinax) and raised an all new genus—Metriacanthosaurus, "moderately-spined lizard"—named for its taller-than-typically short carnosaur spines but shorter than typically high spinosaurid spines.
(Parker's Moderate-Spined Lizard)EtymologyMetriacanthosaurus is derived from the Greek "metrikos" (moderate), "akantha" (spine) and "sauros" (lizard) because of the medium length spines on its backbone.
The species epithet, parkeri, honors W. Parker.
DiscoveryThe remains of Metriacanthosaurus were discovered in the upper Oxford Clay Formation at Jordan's Cliff, Overcombe, Nr. Weymouth, Dorset, England, by W. Parker sometime in the 19th century. The holotype (OUM J.12144) consists of an incomplete hip, a leg bone, and part vertebrae from the back and tail.