Acrocanthosaurus

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Acrocanthosaurus
Temporal range: Lower Cretaceous, 116 to 110 mya
Mounted Acrocanthosaurus skeleton at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Infraorder: Carnosauria
Family: Carcharodontosauridae
Genus: Acrocanthosaurus

Acrocanthosaurus was a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived in North America during the Lower Cretaceous period. Its name means "high-spined lizard". This refers to the spines on its vertebrae which formed a sail or hump when the animal was alive.

Its classification is uncertain. It was originally classified as a spinosaur, because the spines on its back resembled those of Spinosaurus. However, Acrocanthosaurus is now classified as a carnosaur. Most paleontologists believe that it was a carcharodontosaurid.

Acrocanthosaurus was 39 feet long, almost as large as Tyrannosaurus rex. It was the largest theropod in North America before the evolution of the tyrannosaurs.[1] There is a famous trackway in Paluxy, Texas , which shows tracks of an Acrocanthosaurus and its prey, a Paluxysaurus.

In popular culture[change | edit source]

Acrocanthosaurus was featured in an episode of the television documentary Monsters Resurrected. It was depicted as the top predator in early Cretaceous North America. A juvenile was scared away from its kill by a pack of Deinonychus, and was forced to hunt more difficult prey, such as a Sauropelta.

References[change | edit source]

  1. Bates, K.T. et al (2009). "Estimating mass properties of dinosaurs using laser imaging and 3D computer modelling". PLoS ONE 4 (2): e4532. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004532. PMC 2639725. PMID 19225569. "We therefore suggest 5750–7250 kg represents a plausible maximum body mass range for this specimen of Acrocanthosaurus.".