Great Lizard

Megalosaurus means big lizard in English. But he could also have the name "the first".

He was the first dinosaur fossil ever discovered. He was also the first dinosaur genus ever scientifically named.

And in February 2020, the Royal Mint of Great Britain issued the first of three 50p coins to commemorate the discovery of the first three dinosaurs discovered in England

Megalosaurus-50p Münze
Megalosaurus-50p Münze

Megalosaurus was discovered in England as early as 1676.

The bones found were given to Robert Plot, then curator of the Ashmolean Museum and professor of chemistry at Oxford University.

Plot thought the femur was that of a Roman war elephant. Later he changed his mind and considered the bone to be that of a giant man, as described in the Bible.

In 1824, it received its scientific name from William Buckland.

Later in 1827 Gideon Mantell in his book "The Geology of the southeast of England" assigned to the type specimen its today valid binomial: Megalosaurus bucklandii.

Prehistoric EraJurassic, about 181-169 million years ago.
Height3 meters
Length9 meters
Weight1 ton
TerritoryEurope; England

Megalosaurus was a Carnivore.

Originally, Megalosaurus was incorrectly reconstructed as a quadrupedal lizard.

Only later was it recognized that it was a bipedal predatory theropod. With short arms and hands with 3 fingers, which were equipped with sharp claws.

In his jaws he carried long blade-like teeth tipped with serrations.


Megalosaurus Groessenvergleich
Megalosaurus Size Comparison

They resemble those of other theropods such as. : Allosaurus. A close relationship to Allosaurus is suspected.

A possibly related genus of Megalosaurus, which was excavated in Normandy, France, was destroyed during WW2; Poekilopleuron.

Megalosaurus Sklettteile
Megalosaurus Sklett parts

Megalosaurus possessed two powerful hind legs. Its short strong neck carried a large head, typical for carnivorous dinosaurs. Its body as well as its tail was massively developed. The toes of the hind legs also had sharp claws.

Image Source: Eotyrannu5, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Slate Weasel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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