STL Science Center

STL Science Center

16 December 2011

I feel like this is what I have right now...

Eustreptospondylus, which sounds a lot like streptococcus (which I always think I have when I get a sore throat), was a medium sized Jurassic dinosaur living in Europe in the area of what is known to have been an island chain, and some main lands, ringing the Northern Tethys Sea (This could also be considered the start of the North Atlantic, depending on what source you go with). Sir Richard Owen described the original specimens, which makes the fact that Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis is considered a Megalosaurid not really big news; Owen pretty much labeled anything on two legs a Megalosaurid because he was a pioneer in a fledgling field and no one was going to question him at the time. In 1964 Owen's sample remains were compared to remains known to be called Eustreptospondylus and re-categorized. The poor animal has been lumped in with Streptospondylus as well in the past and a 2000 study determined that only minor differences in the hips made Eustreptospondylus identifiable as something not in the genus Magnosaurus.

Poor Eustreptospondylus, right? Wrong! The medium sized animal was the apex land predator of the island chain in the Northern Tethys. The only animal that could regularly bother this animal was in the water and that sort of danger only exists when swimming or standing on a beach. It is believed that Eustreptospondylus could swim short distances through shallow water and shallow water would have been much safer than deep water considering the size of animals like Liopleurodon that would have threatened the land carnivore. All in all, Eustreptospondylus was a fairly good predator and we'll see why over the next few days in greater detail.

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