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 Saurophaganax maximus

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PostSubject: Saurophaganax maximus   Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:00 pm

Saurophaganax maximus



Fossil range: Late Jurassic, 154-142 Ma

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Allosauridae
Genus: Saurophaganax
Species: Saurophaganax maximus

Saurophaganax ("lizard-eating master") is a genus of allosaurid dinosaur from the Morrison Formation of Jurassic North America. Some paleontologists consider it to be a species of Allosaurus (A. maximus). Saurophaganax represents a very large (10.9-13 meters long) Morrison allosaurid characterized by horizontal laminae at the bases of the dorsal neural spines above the transverse processes, and "meat-chopper" chevrons.

Allosaurus versus Saurophaganax

The identification of Saurophaganax is a matter of dispute. It has been described as its own genus, or as a species of Allosaurus: Allosaurus maximus. The most recent review of basal tetanurans accepted Saurophaganax as a distinct genus. New possible Saurophaganax material from New Mexico may clear up the status of Saurophaganax.

Ecology

Saurophaganax was one of the largest carnivores of Late Jurassic North America. Ray even gave an estimate of the body length of fifteen metres and Chure of fourteen, though later estimations have been lower. The fossils known of Saurophaganax (both the possible New Mexican material and the Oklahoma material) are known from the latest part of the Morrison formation, suggesting that they were either always uncommon or appeared rather late in the fossil record. Saurophaganax was large for an allosaurid, and bigger than both its contemporaries Torvosaurus tanneri and Allosaurus fragilis. Being much rarer than its contemporaries, making up one percent or less of the Morrison theropod fauna, not much about its behavior is known. Stovall in Oklahoma also unearthed a considerable number of Apatosaurus specimens, a possible prey for a large theropod.





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