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SARCOSAURUS

a meat-eating coelophysoid theropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of England.
Pronunciation: sahr-koh-SOR-us
Meaning: Flesh lizard
Author/s: Andrews (1921)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Leicestershire, England
Chart Position: 95

Sarcosaurus woodi

Described in the same paper as a new species of Hedgehog from the Island of Djerba, Sarcosaurus has led a tough taxonomic life, even by "theropods that were named in the early part of the 20th century" standards. Its fossils—a pelvis, a vertebra and the upper part of a thighbone from the Lower Lias of Barrow-On-Soar—were assigned by Charles William Andrews to Megalosauridae in 1921, but have since been plonked amongst the coelophysids, the ceratosaurs and lately the coelophysoids.

A combination of shabby remains and uncertain affinities never bodes well, and that extends to a once-thought second species—Sarcosaurus andrewsi—whose 45.5cm long shin bone from Wilmcote was simultaneously named Magnosaurus woodwardi by Friedrich von Huene in the very same 1932 scientific paper, then erroneously renamed Megalosaurus andrewsi by Michael Waldman in 1974.

Needless to say, most paleontologists tend to give Sarcosaurus a wide berth these days, and not just because of its assumed fondness for flesh. Both species may be one and the same, though a lack of compareable parts make this theory unprovable, and they are both considered highly dubious, as is a second partial skeleton from the Warwick Museum that von Huene assigned to the type species in 1932 but which was informally named "Liassaurus" by Pickering in 1995.
Etymology
Sarcosaurus is derived from the Greek "sarx" (flesh) and "sauros" (lizard), referring to its presumed carnivorous lifestyle.
The species epithet, woodi, honours its discoverer S.L. Wood.
Discovery
Sarcosaurus woodi was discovered in the Lower Lias Bucklandi zone of the Lias Group at Barrow-On-Soar, Leicestershire, England, by S.L. Wood in 1921.
The holotype (BMNH R4840/1) consists of a pelvis, a partial femur (31.5cm long) and a dorsal (back) vertebra.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Early Jurassic
Stage: Sinemurian
Age range: 196-189 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 3 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 75 Kg
Diet: Carnivore
References
C.W. Andrews (1921) "On some remains of a theropodous dinosaur from the Lower Lias of Barrow-on-Soar".
• A.S. Woodward (1908) "Note on a megalosaurian tibia from the Lower Lias of Wilmcote, Warwickshire".
• M. Waldman (1974) "Megalosaurids from the Bajocian (Middle Jurassic) of Dorset".
• A. Gauthier (1986) "Saurischian monophyly and the origin of birds" in K. Padian "The Origin of Birds and the Evolution of Flight".
• Carrano and Sampson (2004) "A review of coelophysoids (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Early Jurassic of Europe, with comments on the late history of the Coelophysoidea".
• D. Naish and D. M. Martill (2007) "Dinosaurs of Great Britain and the role of the Geological Society of London in their discovery: basal Dinosauria and Saurischia".
• G.S. Paul (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "SARCOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 30th Mar 2017.
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