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Megalosaurus (meaning “Giant Lizard”) is a genus of Megalosaurid from the Middle Jurassic of England. It was described in 1827 by Gideon Mantell as M. bucklandii, making Megalosaurus the first officially described  dinosaur. The type species is named in honor of William Buckland. In 1842, Sir Richard Owen used Iguanodon, Hylaeosaurus, and this Megalosaurus to create the group dinosauria. In the 1800s and early 1900s, Megalosaurus became a wastebasket taxon, with nearly every new carnivorous dinosaur being named a species of Megalosaurus. Some examples include Becklespinax, Metriacanthosaurus, Poekilopleuron, and much more. It was large for the time it existed, reaching a length of up to 30 feet (9 meters).  Originally, Megalosaurus was thought to be a quadrupedal and up to 65 feet (20 meters) in length until Richard Owen decided it was no more than 30 feet (9 meters).  It was one of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs along with Iguanodon, Hylaeosaurus, and non dinosaurs Icthyosaurus, Megaloceras, and several more.

by Todd Marshall


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