STL Science Center

STL Science Center

28 September 2012

A Princely Lizard of India

©Dmitry Bogdanov
The "Princely Lizard of Narmada Valley" was a rather large Abelisaurid theropod. This dinosaur was a lot like Majungasaurus, living in Madagascar, which had separated from India 20 million years prior to the date in the fossil record at which Rajasaurus narmadensis was found, and was a close relative of the former dinosaur. Being a close relative of Majungasaurus was not enough to justify the classification of Rajasaurus as an Abelisaurid, but the bones itself, in particular its nasal and frontal bones and protuberances found on the skull as a whole pointed not only to the Abelisaurid famly, but also to the subfamily which includes Carnotaurus (the Carnotaurines). Thus Rajasaurus is not only an Abelisaurid genus, but it is an Abelisaurid Carnotaurine genus (crazy hard to pronounce science!). The original skeleton is comprised of a complete skull and approximately 70% of the rest of the skeleton; an extraordinary find for fossil hunters with an animal as large as Rajasaurus, which measures in at "about 7.6–9 m (24.9–29.5 ft) long, 2.4 m (7.9 ft) in height, and weighed about 3 to 4 tons" (Wikipedia). Rajasaurus, like other Abelisaurids, has a protuberance on its head made mostly along the frontal and nasal bones to create one low horn coming out of its face, which also makes it unique in the Abelisaurid family.

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