The genus Saurophaganax was a genus of allosaurid theropod dinosaurs that inhabited the Earth approximately 155 million years ago, in the Jurassic Period.
The name of Saurophaganax comes to mean “supreme killer lizard”, as several signs of prey with bone damage caused by this animal have been found, in addition to the fact that its fossils show it to be a great predator of the Jurassic period.
What do you think of this genus? Read on if you want to read all the information about Saurophaganax we have. You’ll know everything about this killer lizard!
Taxonomy of Saurophaganax
To take into account the taxonomy of this impressive animal it is important to observe the following table, as it is divided in this way:
- It belongs to the Kingdom of Animalia
- It is located within the Phylum called Chordata
- Within the Sauropside Class
- It belongs to the Dinosaur Superorder
- This dinosaur is located within the Order identified as Saurischia
- It is located within the Theropoda Suborder
- In the infraorder called Carnosauria
- It belongs to the Superfamily called Allosauroidea
- And the Family Allosauridae
The territory in which this animal was found in North America, is why a famous museum located in the state of Oklahoma, which is called “Sam Noble”.
From this we can mention that a large number of fossil remains have been found in that state belonging to the United States of America, precisely in a thin and small strip, while another group of remains have been found in New Mexico, remains that consisted of bone elements such as the femur, bones from the hip area and vertebral bone elements from the area of the tail of the Saurophaganax.
Characteristics of Saurophaganax
About the physical specifications of this specimen we can indicate that its length was approximately 10 or 11 meters, while its height was in an average of 3 and a half meters, as for its weight it is calculated that it could have been more than 3 tons.
One of the most fundamental characteristics of this enormous specimen was a structure that was shaped like a horizontal plate at the base of the neural spine.
It is also known that this fearsome dinosaur was one of the most feared carnivores of its time, so the other specimens that lived in a contemporary period probably only tried to escape from its area, because this aggressive specimen could eat everything in its path.
The vestiges found in the Morrison Formation, were from the beginning totally attributed to the Saurophaganax, however, critical voices could be detected due to this, many scientists who did not agree with this decision managed to affirm that in reality it was quite rare for a Saurophaganax to live in these areas (state of New Mexico).
If we start to compare this specimen with other specimens called allosaurs, it is very likely that we will notice the great length that the first mentioned dinosaur has, even if we start to compare it with the Torvosaurus, the Saurophaganax gains in dimension.
However, there is not a lot of data we can know about this specimen, that is, little is known about the life or behavior of the dinosaur, due to the fact that it was actually a really rare specimen, difficult to find in any area of our planet.
Dan Chure was in charge of the arduous task of reviewing this huge and scary specimen, so he himself was in charge of attributing the remains of the Saurophaganax to the Allosaurids, even this scientist came to call this specimen Saurophaganax maximus.
However, we must point out that it has no phylogenetic relationship with the species Saurophagus maximus.
The dinosaur in our culture
If we are regular consumers of the great BBC, we have probably noticed the existence of a documentary called “Planet Dinosaur”, a documentary of great importance in which our dinosaur protagonist makes a great appearance.
In fact, it can be clearly seen how this specimen is taking away from another allosaurid the food that it had managed to hunt, a rather curious but frequent fact both millions of years ago and nowadays. Besides, the food that was being taken away belonged to the body of a Camptosaurus specimen.
Discovery of the Saurophaganax
In 1931, John Willis Stovall made an important discovery in the state of Oklahoma, this discovery consisted of the set of remains that we had mentioned before.
Stovall himself proposed to carry out a serious investigation, and in 1941 he managed to publish just one of the less complete reviews of this dinosaur. Criticized by a large number of his colleagues, the criticisms were also varied. Among the main ones, we can say that the scientific world emphasized the fact that it had only narrated the finding, but it did not propose to describe the specimen as it was.