Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
|An artist's illustration of Majungasaurus crenatissimus|
| Majungasaurus crenatissimus|
Majungasaurus (pronounced /məˌdʒʌŋɡəˈsɔrəs/ mah-jung-gə-sor-əs "Mahajanga lizard") is a medium sized genus of abelisaurid theropod dinosaur that lived in Madagascar from 70 to 66.8 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous Period. Only one species (M. crenatissimus) has been identified. This dinosaur was briefly called Majungatholus, a name which is now considered a junior synonym of Majungasaurus.
Like other abelisaurids, Majungasaurus was a bipedal predator with a short snout. Although the forelimbs are not completely known, they were very short, while the hindlimbs were longer and very stocky. It can be distinguished from other abelisaurids by its wider skull, the very rough texture and thickened bone on the top of its snout, and the single rounded horn on the roof of its skull, which was originally mistaken for the dome of a pachycephalosaur. Other abelisaurids have different features: its larger cousin Carnotaurus had two large brow horns on its head, while some others, like Rugops, or Abelisaurus, lack the odd features on their skulls. It also had more teeth in both the upper and lower jaws than most abelisaurids.
Known from several well-preserved skulls and abundant skeletal material, Majungasaurus has recently become one of the best-studied theropod dinosaurs from the Southern Hemisphere. It appears to be most closely related to abelisaurids from India rather than South America or continental Africa, a fact which has important biogeographical implications. Majungasaurus was the apex predator in its ecosystem, mainly preying on sauropods like Rapetosaurus, and is also one of the the only dinosaurs for which direct evidence of cannibalism is known, along with Tyrannosaurus rex, although its' unknown if they actively cannibalized its own species or eat the injured and/or already dead specimen's corpses. When attacking Majungasaurus would bite and not let go, since its teeth curved backward and it had jaws made for gripping than slashing. Current size estimates put it around 8 metres highest.
Misconception of "Majungatholus"
A braincase was gound beside a fossil remains of a Majungasaurus mistaken with the dome of a Pachycephalosaur. It was considered to be it's own genus until 1996 when a scientist compared it with the brow horn of Majungasaurus and after that it was crystal clear that Majungatholus remains were actually a brow horn of a Majungasaurus. Since then it is considered as the junior synonym of Majungasaurus.
In Popular Culture
- Majungasaurus makes an appearance in Jurassic Fight Club under its' old name Majungatholus where a male wants to mate with the female, but the female will not tolerate it because of her young. The male kills the juvenile but gets killed himself.
- Majungasaurus also starred in Dinosaur Revolution, where a Majungasaurus appears to almost step on a Rahonavis and attacks a Rapetosaurus. Later, two baby Majungasaurus chase the Rahonavis up a tree, but they couldn't climb and they ended up as food for two Beelzebufo.
- Majungasaurus also appeared in Prehistoric Assassins "Claws & Jaws" Where it was hunting a Rapetosaurus.
- The dinosaur also appears in Last Killers from BBC Planet Dinosaur, where a female Majungasaurus and her young scare away a flock of Rahonavis for the carcass of a dead Rapetosaurus. A male soon appears, wanting to also feast, but the female becomes aggressive and the male ends up as food himself for the female and her young.
- The dinosaur-themed rock act Majungas, from Chicago, is inspired from Majungasaurus. Their self-titled song "Majunga" off the album "Hear the Roar" is a tribute to the Majungasaurus.
- Majungasaurus is one of the first unlockable dinosaurs in Jurassic World: The Game.
- Majungasaurus makes an appearance in the second season of Dinosaur King.
- Majungasaurus will be in Jurassic World: Alive.
- Majungasaurus will be one of five exclusve dinosaurs that will be added to the deluxe edition of Jurassic World: Evolution. Its' coloration is mainly grey-ish brown all over the body with dark brown stripes all over the body with white osteoderms.
- Majungasaurus makes a minor appearance in Discovery Channel's Mutant Planet aka Planet Evolution episode "Madagascar" where it sees the asteroid hits into the earth & after the blast, it was seen making one last roar before it died out along with the other Dinosaurs. Due to it's appearance, it almost looked like a Tyrannosaurus rex.
- A Genetic material of Majungasasaurus was in possession of InGen by 2014 and was used in the genetic hybrid Indominus rex in the film Jurassic World.