Metriacanthosaurus is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived in Europe during the Middle Jurassic period, about 160 million years ago. Its name means "Moderate-spined lizard", because its back vertebrae are taller than other meat-eating dinosaurs such as Allosaurus, but shorter than those of other meat-eating dinosaurs, such as Acrocanthosaurus. Like most theropods, Metriacanthosaurus was a meat-eater. It had three fingers on each hand. Each finger ended in a sharp, hook-like claw that was used to grab prey before giving the killing bite with its jaws. It probably preyed on the large, long-necked sauropods, such as Pelorosaurus, that lived in the same time and place as it. It was originally classified as a megalosaurid, but recent studies show that it belongs to its own family, the Metriacanthosauridae
In popular culture [change]
In Jurassic Park, one of the vials of dinosaur DNA that Dennis Nedry steals is labeled Metriacanthosaurus. However, this may refer to either M. parkeri or Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis, which Gregory S. Paul then classified as a species of Metriacanthosaurus.