Masiakasaurus‭ (‬Vicious lizard‭)

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Masiakasaurus‭ (‬Vicious lizard‭)

Phonetic : Mah-shee-ah-kah-sore-us.

Named By : Scott D.‭ ‬Sampson,‭ ‬Matthew Carrano,‭ ‬and Catherine A.‭ ‬Forster‭ ‬-‭ ‬2001

Diet : Carnivore

Size : Estimated 1.8‭ ‬-‭ ‬2 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Small Theropod

Type Species : M.‭ ‬knopfleri (type)

Found in : Madagascar,‭ ‬Maevarano Formation

When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 84-71 million years ago

Masiakasaurus, a genus small predatory noasaurid dinosaurs, is from the Late Cretaceous period of Madagascar. Masiaka in Malagasy means “vicious”, so the genus name is “vicious lizard”. Masiakasaurus knopfleri was the type species. It is named after Mark Knopfler, a musician who inspired the expedition crew. Scott D. Sampson and Matthew Carrano named it in 2001. M. knopfleri’s front teeth were positioned forward, rather than straight down like most other theropods. The unique dentition of M. knopfleri suggests that they had a special diet. This could have included small prey like fish. The skeleton also shows that Masiakasaurus was bipedal with shorter forelimbs and longer hindlimbs. M. knopfleri’s adult length was approximately 2m (6 ft 7in).


MasiakasaurusEduard Solà, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Masiakasaurus was alive around 70 million years ago. He lived with other animals like Majungasaurus and Rapetosaurus as well as Rahonavis. Masiakasaurus belonged to the Noasauridae group, which is small predatory ceratosaurs that are primarily found in South America.

Masiakasaurus remains were discovered in northwestern Madagascar’s Late Cretaceous Maevarano Formation. They were first published in Nature in 2001. Near the village of Berivotra, fragmentary bones representing around 40% of the skeleton have been found. The skull was found in several parts, including the distinctive teeth. Also, the humerus (upper arm bone), pubis and hindlimbs were found, as well as several vertebrae.

Additional Masiakasaurus specimens were discovered in 2011. For the first time, the braincase, premaxilla and facial bones were all described. This new material has clarified many aspects about noasaurid anatomy, making the genus one of the most well-known dinosaur genuses. However, the new material did not permit for an in-depth study of its evolutionary relationships with ceratosaurs. The new material has revealed that approximately 65% of the skeleton can be found.

Masiakasaurus was a small-bodied ceratosaur. Paul estimated the length of Masiakasaurus at 2 meters (6.6 feet) and its weight at 20 kilograms (44 lbs). Molina-Perez, Larramendi provided a larger measurement of 4.6 meters (15.1 feet) and 128 kilograms (282 lbs), respectively. The FMNH PR 2457 specimen is a subadult.

Source: Wikipedia