Carnosauria is a large group of predatory dinosaurs that lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. While it originally contained a wide assortment of giant theropods that were not closely related, the group has since been defined to encompass only the allosaurs and their closest kin. Starting from the 1990s, scientists have discovered some very large carnosaurs in the carcharodontosaurid family, such as Giganotosaurus and Tyrannotitan which are among the largest known predatory dinosaurs.
Carnosaurs first appeared in the Middle Jurassic, around 176 mya. The last definite known carnosaurs, the carcharodontosaurs, became extinct in the Turonian epoch of the Cretaceous, roughly 90 mya; reportedly later remains of carcharodontosaurids, from the Campanian and Maastrichtian epochs, are possibly misidentified remains of abelisaurids. The phylogenetically problematic megaraptorans, which may not be carnosaurs, became extinct around 84 mya. Remains probably belonging to carcharodontosaurids have been found from the late Maastrichtian (70-66 Ma ago) in Brazil.
|Replica Giganotosaurus carolinii skeleton|
von Huene, 1920
Carnosauria has traditionally been used as a dumping ground for all large theropods. Even non-dinosaurs, such as the rauisuchian Teratosaurus, were once considered carnosaurs. However, analysis in the 1980s and 1990s revealed that other than size, the group shared very few characteristics, making it polyphyletic. Most former carnosaurs (such as the megalosaurids, the spinosaurids, and the ceratosaurs) were reclassified as more primitive theropods. Others (such as the tyrannosaurids) that were more closely related to birds were placed in Coelurosauria.
The clade Allosauroidea was originally proposed by Phil Currie and Zhao (1993; p. 2079), and later used as an undefined stem-based taxon by Paul Sereno (1997). Sereno (1998; p. 64) was the first to provide a stem-based definition for the Allosauroidea, defining the clade as "All neotetanurans closer to Allosaurus than to Neornithes." Kevin Padian (2007) used a node-based definition, defined the Allosauroidea as Allosaurus, Sinraptor, their most recent common ancestor, and all of its descendants. Thomas R. Holtz and colleagues (2004; p. 100) and Phil Currie and Ken Carpenter (2000), among others, have followed this node-based definition. However, in some analyses (such as Currie & Carpenter, 2000), the placement of the carcharodontosaurids relative to the allosaurids and sinraptorids is uncertain, and therefore it is uncertain whether or not they are allosauroids (Currie & Carpenter, 2000).
"Carnosaurus" is an informal generic name, attributed to Friedrich von Huene, ca. 1929. It is the result of a typographical error created by the translation of the von Huene monograph from German to Spanish. Von Huene himself intended to assign indeterminate remains to Carnosauria incertae sedis.
Abelisaurus (; "Abel's lizard") is a genus of predatory abelisaurid theropod dinosaur during the Late Cretaceous Period (Campanian) of what is now South America. It was a bipedal carnivore that probably reached about 7.4 metres (24 ft 3 in) in length, although this is uncertain as it is known from only one partial skull.Averostra
Averostra, or "bird snouts", is a clade that includes most theropod dinosaurs that have a promaxillary fenestra (fenestra promaxillaris), an extra opening in the front outer side of the maxilla, the bone that makes up the upper jaw. Two groups of averostrans, the Ceratosauria and the Orionides, survived into the Cretaceous period. When the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event occurred, ceratosaurians and two groups of orionideans within the clade Coelurosauria, the Tyrannosauroidea and Maniraptoriformes, were still extant. Only one subgroup of maniraptoriformes, Aves, survived the extinction event and persisted to the present day.Avetheropoda
Avetheropoda, or "bird theropods", is a clade that includes carnosaurians and coelurosaurs to the exclusion of other dinosaurs.Carcharodontosauridae
Carcharodontosaurids (from the Greek καρχαροδοντόσαυρος, carcharodontósauros: "shark-toothed lizards") were a group of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs. In 1931 Ernst Stromer named Carcharodontosauridae as a family, which, in modern paleontology, indicates a clade within Carnosauria. Carcharodontosaurids included some of the largest land predators ever known: Giganotosaurus, Mapusaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Tyrannotitan all rivaled or slightly exceeded Tyrannosaurus in length. A 2015 paper by Christophe Hendrickx and colleagues gives a maximum length estimate of 14 meters (46 feet) for the largest carcharodontosaurids, while the smallest carcharodontosaurids were estimated to have been at least 6 meters (20 feet) long.Cerapoda
Cerapoda ("ceratopsians and ornithopods") is a clade of the dinosaur order Ornithischia.Dinosaur vision
Dinosaur vision was, in general, better than the vision of most other reptiles, although vision varied between dinosaur species. Coelurosaurs, for example, had good stereoscopic or binocular vision, whereas large carnosaurs had poor binocular vision, comparable to that of modern alligators.Dinosauriformes
Dinosauriformes is a clade of archosaurian reptiles that include the dinosaurs and their most immediate relatives. All dinosauriformes are distinguished by several features, such as shortened forelimbs and a partially to fully perforated acetabulum, the hole in the hip socket traditionally used to define dinosaurs. The oldest known member is Asilisaurus, dating to about 245 million years ago in the Anisian age of the middle Triassic period.Efraasia
Efraasia (pronounced "E-FRAHS-ee-A") is a genus of basal sauropodomorph dinosaur. It was a herbivore which lived during the middle Norian stage of the Late Triassic, around 210 million years ago, in what is now Germany. It was named in 1973 after Eberhard Fraas, who during the early twentieth century collected what were the original type specimens.
The specimens were at first assigned to three already existing genera and so became divided among three separate species: Teratosaurus minor, Sellosaurus fraasi and Paleosaurus diagnosticus. In 2003 these were combined into a single valid species: Efraasia minor.
Efraasia was a lightly built, medium-sized sauropodomorph, about 6 to 7 metres (20 to 23 ft) long.Erectopus
Erectopus is a basal allosauroid theropod from the Lower Cretaceous of France.Gryponyx
Gryponyx (meaning "hooked-claw") is an extinct genus of massopod sauropodomorph known from southern Free State, central South Africa.Haya griva
Haya is an extinct genus of basal neornithischian dinosaur known from Mongolia.Jingshanosaurus
Jingshanosaurus (meaning "Jingshan lizard") is a genus of sauropodomorph dinosaurs from the early Jurassic period.Neotheropoda
Neotheropoda (meaning "new theropods") is a clade that includes coelophysoids and more advanced theropod dinosaurs, and the only group of theropods who survived the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Yet all of the neotheropods became extinct during the early Jurassic period except for Averostra.Orionides
Orionides is a clade of tetanuran theropod dinosaurs from the Middle Jurassic to the Present. The clade includes most theropod dinosaurs, including birds.Orodrominae
Orodrominae is a subfamily of parksosaurid dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of North America and Asia.Tetanurae
Tetanurae (/ˌtɛtəˈnjuːriː/ or "stiff tails") is a clade that includes most theropod dinosaurs, including megalosauroids, allosauroids, tyrannosauroids, ornithomimosaurs, maniraptorans, and birds. Tetanurans are defined as all theropods more closely related to modern birds than to Ceratosaurus and contain the majority of predatory dinosaur diversity. Tetanurae likely diverged from its sister group, Ceratosauria, during the late Triassic. Tetanurae first appeared in the fossil record by the Early Jurassic about 190 mya and by the Middle Jurassic had become globally distributed.The group was named by Jacques Gauthier in 1986 and originally had two main subgroups: Carnosauria and Coelurosauria, the clade containing birds and related dinosaurs such as compsognathids, tyrannosaurids, ornithomimosaurs, and maniraptorans. The original Carnosauria was a polyphyletic group including any large carnivorous theropod. Many of Gauthier's carnosaurs, such as tyrannosaurids, have since been re-classified as coelurosaurs or primitive tetanurans. Carnosauria has been reclassified as a group containing allosaurids that split from the Coelurosauria at the Neotetanurae/Avetheropoda node. Members of Spinosauroidea are believed to represent basal tetanurans.Tetanuran evolution was characterized by parallel diversification of multiple lineages, repeatedly attaining large body size and similar locomotor morphology. Cryolophosaurus has been claimed as the first true member of the group, but subsequent studies have disagreed on whether it is a dilophosaurid or tetanuran. Arcucci and Coria (2003) classified Zupaysaurus as an early tetanuran, but it was later placed as a sister taxon to the clade containing dilophosaurids, ceratosaurs, and tetanurans.Shared tetanuran features include a ribcage indicating a sophisticated air-sac-ventilated lung system similar to that in modern birds. This character would have been accompanied by an advanced circulatory system. Other tetanuran characterizing features include the absence of the fourth digit of the hand, placement of the maxillary teeth anterior to the orbit, a strap-like scapula, maxillary fenestrae, and stiffened tails. During the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, large spinosaurids and allosaurs flourished but possibly died out in the northern hemisphere before the end of the Cretaceous, and were replaced as apex predators by tyrannosauroid coelurosaurs. At least in South America, carcharodontosaurid allosaurs persisted until the end of the Mesozoic Era, and died out at the same time the non-avian coelurosaurs.Theropoda
Theropoda ( or , from Greek θηρίον "wild beast" and πούς, ποδός "foot") or theropods () are a dinosaur suborder that is characterized by hollow bones and three-toed limbs. They are generally classed as a group of saurischian dinosaurs, although a 2017 paper has instead placed them in the proposed clade Ornithoscelida as the closest relatives of the Ornithischia. Theropods were ancestrally carnivorous, although a number of theropod groups evolved to become herbivores, omnivores, piscivores, and insectivores. Theropods first appeared during the Carnian age of the late Triassic period 231.4 million years ago (Ma) and included the sole large terrestrial carnivores from the Early Jurassic until at least the close of the Cretaceous, about 66 Ma. In the Jurassic, birds evolved from small specialized coelurosaurian theropods, and are today represented by about 10,500 living species.Wastebasket taxon
Wastebasket taxon (also called a wastebin taxon, dustbin taxon or catch-all taxon) is a term used by some taxonomists to refer to a taxon that has the sole purpose of classifying organisms that do not fit anywhere else. They are typically defined by either their designated members' often superficial similarity to each other, or their lack of one or more distinct character states or by their not belonging to one or more other taxa. Wastebasket taxa are by definition either paraphyletic or polyphyletic, and are therefore not considered to be valid taxa under strict cladistic rules of taxonomy. The name of a wastebasket taxon may in some cases be retained as the designation of an evolutionary grade, however.Xixiposaurus
Xixiposaurus is a genus of prosauropod dinosaur which existed in what is now Lower Lufeng Formation, China during the lower Jurassic period. It was first named by Sekiya Toru in 2010 and the type species is Xixiposaurus suni.