STL Science Center

STL Science Center

26 October 2017

Majungasaurus Everywhere

Majungasaurus has been seen in many different forms of media for the past 60 years. Originally described by the French paleontologist Rene Lavocat in 1955, Majungasaurus was named as the dinosaur of the province it came from, Mahajanga in northwestern Madagascar. Lavocat's described remains were not the first remains described, but the 1896 description of theropod remains from Mahajanga were published as new remains of Megalosaurus by another French paleontologist, Charles Deperet. Given this extremely long history of remains, the amount of popular knowledge and subsequent popular culture references of Majungasaurusought to be much more extensive than it currently is, despite the mistaken name. Following the 1979 description of remains under the name Majungatholus atopus (Sues and Taquet) the dinosaur garnered more attention, as a pachycephalosaur, until its theropod and cannibalistic nature became more well known and widespread after the 1998 discovery of Majungatholus-like set of remains. Those remains were described and reassigned to Majungasaurus, with the name Majungatholus then synonymized with the older name.

Aside from the two documentaries shared earlier this week Majungasaurus has not appeared in many places on television or in movies. However, Majungasaurus has been illustrated many different ways by many different artists and has been written about many different times by many different authors. Majungasaurus appears in dinosaur encyclopedias aimed at kids, kids picture books, general dinosaur knowledge books, and even college level texts. Perhaps speaking even more to the popularity of Majungasaurus is the copious number of toys and models produced in different poses and from different molds.

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