The Masiakasaurus was a tiny, bipedal dinosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous period. It was first described by three paleontologists Scott D. Sampson, Matthew Carrano, and Catherine A. Forster. They named the dinosaur species after Mark Knopfler, a musician and singer from the rock band Dire Straits. The paleontologists were listening to the music of this singer when they discovered the remains of this theropod. Masiakasaurus name meaning is 'vicious lizard'. Classification of this species is as follow: Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Neoceratosauria, Abelisauroidea, and Abelisauria.
The paleobiology suggests that there were two forms of Masiakasaurus, the robust for and the gracile form. The limb skeleton was relatively flexible and possessed numerous abelisauroid synapomorphies. The unique traits of these dinosaurs were their jaws and forward projected teeth. It also had an unusually long neck, which was absent in most theropod dinosaurs. Apart from these, it possessed a rounded skull.
The Masiakasaurus pronunciation is 'mah-SHEE-ah-kah-SAWR-us'.
Masiakasaurus was a genus of theropod Abelisaurids that lived in the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. The name is derived from the Malagasy word 'masiaka' which means 'vicious', and the genus name is derived from 'saurus', which means 'lizard'. Therefore, the full name means 'vicious lizard'. However, the type species, Masiakasaurus knopfleri, was named by Scott D. Sampson, Matthew Carrano, and Catherine A. Forster in 2001. They named the genus after the musician Mark Knopfler, whose music was listened to by these people during the discovery of the remains of this dinosaur. It had a long slender neck, which was unique among theropods.
The Masiakasaurus existed in the Late Cretaceous Period, which is 72.1-66 million years ago.
The dinosaur Masiakasaurus became extinct about 70 million years ago.
Masiakasaurus is a genus of tiny predatory dinosaurs that existed in the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. This is an island near the southeastern shore of Africa. It was a member of the family Noasauridae, consisting of short predatory ceratosaurs discovered first in South America. The remains of the M. knopfleri have been discovered in the Late Cretaceous Formation, mainly in northwestern Madagascar by Dr. Scott D. Sampson, from the University of Utah. It was first described in the 'Nature' journal, 2001. Fragments of bones constituting about 40% of the Masiakasaurus skeleton were found near the Berivotra. Various segments of the Masiakasaurus skull, including its unusual teeth, were discovered in the Maevarano Formation. Other bones, such as the pubis, humerus, hind limbs, and various vertebrae, were also discovered. Some additional specimens were described in 2011. For the first time, facial bones, pectoral girdle, ribcage, braincase, some portions of hands, dorsal vertebral column, and cervical area were described by scientists. Some parts of the Masiakasaurus jaw (upper jaw and lower jaw) have been found. With the latest skeleton material, around 65% of the skeleton is presently known.
A few characteristics of the Masiakasaurus were similar to some known predatory dinosaurs in India and Argentina, indicating that radiation from small-bodied theropod dinosaurs occurred in the Late Cretaceous in the Southern Hemisphere, as it did in the Northern Hemisphere. Furthermore, the wide geographic distribution of these tiny dinosaurs and their bigger-bodied relatives, Abelisaurids, might have supported the newly proposed geophysical theory. This model believes that the land that once created the enormous supercontinent Gondwana may have maintained contact for longer than previously thought. 'If so', commented Sampson, 'dinosaurs and other terrestrial animals may have traveled long distances between South America and Madagascar, India'.
The Masiakasaurus belonged to the Noasauridae group. Noasaurid were actually tiny theropods that thrived in the Southern Hemisphere in the Cretaceous period. They are a division of the wider group of theropods known as ceratosaurs, which also involves the bigger known Carnotaurus and Ceratosaurus. Masiakasaurus became extinct about 70 million years ago. They used to live with animals like the Rapetosaurus, Majungasaurus, and Rahonavis. The environment in which they lived had many small animals, including mammals, frogs, birdlike dinosaurs, and small crocodiles.
The total lifespan of a Masiakasaurus dinosaur has not been identified yet.
Masiakasaurus dinosaurs were egg-laying dinosaurs with the ability to lay between 5-20 eggs per clutch. Their reproduction process and mating behavior have not been identified yet.
Unlike other theropods, the Masiakasaurus had front teeth that extended forward instead of straight down. This unique characteristic of the Masiakasaurus suggests that it had an unusual diet, including fish and various other small prey. Moreover, other skeleton bones show that this dinosaur was bipedal, with much smaller forelimbs than hindlimbs. This abelisauroid could have reached a body length of about 6.5 ft (2 m) and weight around 100-200 lb (45.36-90.72 kg).
According to the paleobiology of the Masiakasaurus, the exact number of bones is unknown. Although, with the latest skeleton material founded, around 65% of the skeleton is known. In 2002, Carrano et al. differentiated two forms of Masiakasaurus, the first one was a robust form and the second one was a gracile form. The former one included specimens with denser bones and more pronounced ridges for the connection of ligaments and muscles. The latter form included specimens that were thinner and had less pronounced muscle connections. In addition, the gracile form had unfused tibiae, whereas the robust form had fused tibiae. These two types of specimens probably indicated the sexual dimorphism in the dinosaur, but they may have also represented two different types of populations. One of the descriptions of the specimen had a right scapular proboscis, with holes that may be leak marks caused by predation or decay. Majungasaurus was a large Abelisaurus from the Maevarano Formation that probably hunted Masiakasaurus. These holes could also be the outcome of an infection.
About 40% of the skeleton-related description is known, including parts of jaws (the upper jaw and lower jaw), forelimb, hindlimb, axial column, and pelvic girdle. The most outstanding characteristics of the Masiakasaurus are the jaws and teeth. The jaws are described as notably derived with a heterodont procumbent dentition which is not present in any other known Noasaurus. Unlike in most theropods, the teeth are not perpendicular to the jaw. Instead, the teeth of Masiakasaurus were slightly forward. Having front teeth pointing forward would have made it arduous for the Noasaurus to have caused destruction to any creature close to its body size. The limb skeleton is relatively agile and possesses various abelisauroid synapomorphies, including a rounded skull, rounded femoral medial epicondyle, double-grooved pedal unguals, and peg and socket iliac-pubic articulation. More special characteristics between Masiakasaurus, the Indian Laevisuchus, and the Argentine Noasaurus indicate that these taxa make a clade known as Noasauridae within Abelisauroidea. The unusual jaws and teeth features of Masiakasaurus show divergence from the typical theropod diet. Another prominent feature is the long and not very flexible neck. The distribution range of noasaurid establishes a shared biographic history between Madagascar, India, and South America into the Late Cretaceous.
The means of communication among Masiakasaurus dinosaurs is still unknown.
The total Masiakasaurus size was about 6.5 ft (2 m), which is around four times the length of an hourglass dolphin.
Masiakasaurus speed of movement has been estimated to be similar to a wolf.
They weighed around 100-200 lb (45.36-90.72 kg), which is five times heavier and bigger than a spinner dolphins.
No specific names have been used to describe the male and female Masiakasaurus species.
A Masiakasaurus baby is known as a young or hatchling.
Their back teeth were almost similar to other theropods, but the front teeth of the Masiakasaurus were probably an adaptation for grasping small prey. The carinae were restricted to the teeth base in front of the jaws and would have been utilized to tear prey. However, the back teeth worked the same as other Abelisaurids. Numerous feeding behaviors have been suggested based on the unusual dentition. As the front teeth would have been used for grasping, the Masiakasaurus may have consumed small invertebrates, vertebrates (fish, snakes, lizards, mammals), and even fruits.
These dinosaurs have been assumed to be aggressive and territorial.
The Masiakasaurus was smaller than a human. It used to take 8-10 years to develop to the size of a small dog.
The Incisivosaurus, a dinosaur whose specimen was found in China, had unique buck teeth.
The Masiakasaurus was a small noasaurus theropod that lived in the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. It was a meat-eating animal that had unusual jaws (upper jaw and lower jaw) and teeth, and a long neck. The dinosaur was discovered by three paleontologists Scott D. Sampson, Matthew Carrano, and Catherine A. Forster in 2001. However, the species name M. knopfleri was named after Mark Knopfler, an artist in the rock band Dire Straits. When the paleontologists discovered the dinosaur, they were listening to the music of this singer, which inspired them.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Harpactognathus facts and Ludodactylus facts pages.
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