STL Science Center

STL Science Center

29 February 2012

Mobile Devices Erase My Nearly Done Posts

Afrovenator is a somewhat new dinosaur and, like many of the past month's dinosaurs, comes to us from the rock formations of Niger. Sereno et al's paper in 1994 named and described a new genus and species of dinosaur. Remarkably this brand new dinosaur came from the soil with a nearly complete skeleton and skull. A few bones are missing, to be sure, but overall there is not much missing. The skull, in fact, is only missing its lower jaw or mandible. The real problem faced by Afrovenator is classification. There is no real consensus or even majority agreement at this time as to where in the dinosaur family this dinosaur belongs! There are many theories, attempts to place it, and inquiries into where it belongs, but none of them whole heartedly agree with one another. Some of the theories are as follows: 1) Most analyses place Afrovenator within Megalosauridae. 2) Afrovenator is a basal megalosaurid. 3) Recent studies show Afrovenator in a subfamily of Megalosauridae with Eustreptospondylus and Dubreuillosaurus. 4) In Sereno's original description, Afrovenator was found to be a basal spinosauroid (he uses the name "Torvosauroidea"), outside of Spinosauridae and Megalosauridae (which he calls "Torvosauridae"). 5) Another recent study places Afrovenator outside of Megalosauroidea completely, and instead finds it more closely related to Allosaurus (Rauhut 2003).

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