Home » Afrovenator

Afrovenator (African-hunter)

Afrovenator (African-hunter)


Named By

Paul Sereno, Jeffrey Wilson, Hans Larsson, Didier Dutheil, and Hans-Dieter Sues – 1994




Estimated 7-8 meters long

Type of Dinosaur

Large Theropod

Type Species

A. abakensis (type)

Found in

Africa, Niger, Abaka, Tiouraren Formation

When it Lived

Early Cretaceous, 132-121 million years ago

Afrovenator Facts

Afrovenator (/,aefroUvI'neIt@r) is a megalosaurid theropod genus dinosaur from The Middle Jurassic Period of northern Africa. It is believed to have been found in 1993 within the Tiouraren Formation of the department of Agadez in Niger.

It is identified by one skeleton that is relatively complete of the holotype UC OBA 1, featuring much of the skull without its highest point and components from the spine partial forelimbs, a part of the pelvis, as well as the majority of hindlimbs. The name is derived from Latin Afer, “African”, and the word venator means “hunter”. There is a specific species Afrovenator abakensis, which is a reference to the nature of its prey and it's origins from Africa.

The initial description of both the genus and species can be found in a paper from 1994 that was published in the highly regarded journal Science. The main author was famous American paleontologist Paul Sereno, with Jeffrey Wilson, Hans Larsson, Didier Dutheil and Hans-Dieter Sues coauthoring.

This dinosaur was eight metres (26 feet) in length and weighed around 1 tonne according to Gregory S. Paul. Thomas R. Holtz Jr. estimated it to be 7.6 meters (25 feet) and 453-907 kilograms (1.000-2.000 pounds) of weight. Sereno said that the general physique was smooth and the forelimbs and lower leg were quite long.

There are a variety of autapomorphies that differentiate Afrovenator from the rest of its cousins, such as a depression where the antorbital fenestra can be found, an elongated cervical vertebra, a wrist bone with a crescent shape, and a pubic's foot bone cut from behind. The skull is rather flat, with its height being just three-fifths of the length. The maxilla has 14 teeth, which can be determined from the sockets of teeth and the teeth are missing.

The majority of studies place Afrovenator in the Megalosauridae, which is a sister taxon of the family of Spinosauridae inside the Megalosauroidea. An analysis from 2002 found it to be an intermediate megalosaurid, but it did not contain Dubreuillosaurus (formerly the Poekilopleuron Valesdunensis) and this could impact the results within that area within the cladogram.

More recent and thorough cladistic analyses show it to be part of a group called Megalosaurinae, which includes Eustreptospondylus and Piatnitzkysaurus. Alternative hypotheses have been suggested regarding its relationship with Allosaurus. This is the sole study to support this conclusion.

If you like the content please share it
Scroll to Top