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Magnosaurus (meaning 'large lizard') was a genus of basal tetanuran theropod dinosaurfrom the Middle Jurassic of England. It is based on fragmentary remains and has often been confused with or included in Megalosaurus.

History and Taxonomy Edit

220px-Magnosaurus OUMNH J. 12143

Remains of the M.nethercombensisholotype.

In 1923, Friedrich von Huene named Megalosaurus nethercombensis from a partial skeleton (OUM J12143) from the Aalenian-Bajocian-age Middle Jurassic Inferior Oolite, found in the nineteenth century by W. Parker near Nethercomb, north of Sherborne, in Dorset, England. The material included partial dentaries, dorsal and caudal vertebrae, a partial ilium, a partial right pubis, internal casts of the femora, and tibiae, from a possibly juvenile individual. Huene interpreted it as a more primitive species of Megalosaurus.

In 1926, he named the tooth species Megalosaurus lydekkeri for a specimen, BMNH 41352, from the Lower Lias (Lower Jurassic) of England that Richard Lydekkerhad first described in 1888. Finally, in 1932, he created the genus Magnosaurus for M. nethercombensis, referred M. lydekkeri to it, and created a third species, M. woodwardi, for the genus. M. woodwardi was based on a tibia (BMNH R.3542) from the Lower Lias, which he simultaneously and accidentally also named Sarcosaurus andrewsi; in 1956 the latter name was given priority by von Huene. Even more confusing, in the same 1932 publication von Huene renamed Sarcosaurus woodi into Magnosaurus woodi.

Until the 1990s, the genus had been ignored as a species of Megalosaurus. However, with growing concern over what exactly is constituted by MegalosaurusMagnosaurushas been generally separated as its own genus. Also, there are morphological differences: for example, possible Megalosaurus tibiae are compressed at the far end, unlike those of Magnosaurus. Rauhut (2003) considered it and Eustreptospondylus to be the same genus, because the two share a similarly expanded front tip of the dentary and enlarged third dentary tooth. He therefore renamed Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis a Magnosaurus oxoniensis but this has not been generally followed. Reviews have found it to most likely be a basal tetanuran, probably a megalosaurid. A detailed redescription by Roger Benson in 2010 concluded Magnosaurus was valid taxon, a megalosauridmegalosauroid, and at about 175 million years old the oldest certain known member of the Tetanurae.

Species Edit

Magnosaurus is known from many species, most of were originally named as a different genus.

  • Magnosaurus nethercombensis (Huene, 1923) Huene, 1932 = Megalosaurus nethercombensis Huene, 1923
  • Magnosaurus lydekkeri (Huene, 1926) Huene, 1932 (nomen dubium) = Megalosaurus lydekkeri Huene, 1926
  • Magnosaurus woodwardi Huene, 1932 (nomen dubium) = Sarcosaurus andrewsiHuene, 1932 = Megalosaurus woodwardi(Huene, 1932)

The type species of EustreptospondylusMegalosaurus and Sarcosaurus are also sometimes assigned to Magnosaurus. In such cases the combinations are:

  • Magnosaurus woodi (Andrews, 1921) = Sarcosaurus woodi Andrews, 1921
  • Magnosaurus oxoniensis (Walker, 1964) Rahut, 2003 = Eustreptospondylus oxoniensisWalker, 1964
  • Magnosaurus bucklandi (Meyer, 1832) Weishampel et al., 2004 = lapsus calami, Megalosaurus bucklandi Meyer, 1832 = Megalosaurus bucklandii Mantell, 1827

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