Masiakasaurus

No. 305329

by Safari Ltd
$10.99USD

Masiakasaurus is a small bizarre meat-eating dinosaur that was named in 2001. It surprised paleontologists because of its oddly shaped jaws and protruding teeth. It lived in Madagascar during the Late Cretaceous, at the end of the ‘age of the dinosaurs’, 65 million years ago.

  • Scientific Name: Masiakasaurus knopfleri
  • Characteristics: Masiakasaurus is a small-bodied meat-eating dinosaur. It walked on two long legs and balanced its body with a long tail. It had a relatively long neck and short arms. Its jaws and teeth are its most distinctive character – the tips of its jaws splay outwards and its front teeth point forward. At 6 feet long it was one of the smaller predatory dinosaurs.
  • Size and Color: This model is 7.25 inches long and 3.25 inches high. It is colored in natural shades of green with dark stripes along its back.
  • The Masiakasaurus is part of the Wild Safari® Prehistoric World collection
  • All of our products are Non-toxic and BPA free

History

The first bones of Masiakasaurus were recovered as isolated specimens from a small area but belonged to at least six individuals.
 These bones represented about 40% of the skeleton and were described in 2001. More fossil material was subsequently discovered at 30 localities across northern Madagascar, and these were described in 2011, providing information on a substantial 65% of the skeleton. This makes Masiakasaurus one of the best know dinosaurs of its kind.

Only one species of Masiakasaurus has been discovered, M. knopfleri. The genus name stems from the Malagasy word masiaka, meaning vicious, and the Greek sauros, meaning lizard. The palaeontologists who described M. knopfleri gave it a species name to honour the singer/songwriter Mark Knopfler of the band Dire Straits, whose music they said inspired their expedition crews!

Masiakasaurus belongs to a group of predatory dinosaurs called abelisauroids. Before the discovery of Masiakasaurus, small abelisauroids were known only from South America. The presence of one in Madagascar was therefore a surprise, and suggests that small abelisauroids radiated across the southern hemisphere. Masiakasaurus lived in Madagascar alongside other, larger abelisauroids, and large long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs.

Masiakasaurus is unique because the tips of its jaws splay outwards and its front teeth point forward. It also has different types of teeth in its jaws. For example, the large teeth at the front of its jaws have hooked tips. The purpose of its unusual jaws and teeth is unknown, but modern mammals with similar teeth are specialized for eating insects, so perhaps Masiakasaurus was an insect-eating dinosaur.

  • Recommended Age: 3+
  • Size in cm: 18.5 L x 8.25 H
  • Size in inches: 7.28 L x 3.25 H
  • UPC: 095866000585