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Temporal range: 160–154 Ma
Metriacanthosaurus ilium.png
Reconstruction of the ilium
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Infraorder: Carnosauria
Superfamily: Allosauroidae
Family: Metriacanthosauridae
Genus: Metriacanthosaurus
Species: M. parkeri

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 | change source]

In Jurassic Park, one of the vials of dinosaur DNA that Dennis Nedry steals is labeled Metriacanthosaurus.