Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The taxonomic status of Megalosaurus bucklandii

The taxonomic status of Megalosaurus bucklandii (dinosauria, theropoda) from the middle Murassic of Oxfordshire, UK. 2008. R. B. J. Benson et al. Palaeontology 51: 419-424.

Abstract: The lectotype of the Middle Jurassic theropod dinosaur Megalosaurus bucklandii, a right dentary, can be diagnosed on the basis of two unique characters: a longitudinal groove on the ventral part of the lateral surface of the dentary and a slit-like anterior Meckelian foramen. This taxon, the first dinosaur to be scientifically described, is therefore valid.

Currently, however, no further material can be referred to this species with any certainty. Megalosaurus bucklandii occupies an uncertain systematic position but is not an abelisaurid or coelophysoid. Additionally, it does not possess the diagnostic dentary characters that are present in all known spinosauroids. Owing to this uncertainty, use of the family Megalosauridae should be discontinued until such time as its systematic position becomes clearer.