STL Science Center

STL Science Center

06 March 2015

Marsh's Dinosaur

©Danny Ciccheti
Marshosaurus bicentesimus was namd and described in 1976 (its specific epithet referring to the American bicentennial). Casts and replicas of its skull are in museums throughout the country and its genus is named after one of the most prolific paleontologists in American history. Why, then, is it a dinosaur that few have heard of? Possibly it is due to the fact that this is another Late Jurassic Rocky Mountain carnivore that blends into the backgrounds of its contemporaries (Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus specifically). It could also be due to the fact that the dinosaur looks like a dinosaur. It does not have spectacular frills and horns and cranial protuberances, unless you count the large teeth. Marshosaurus was not larger than Allosaurus or any other carnivore of the time. The stand out characters of Marshosaurus are that it does not truly stand out, except that it is a Megalosauroid in North America; most Megalosauroids are Palearcitc/Afrotropic in origin.

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