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Title: The taxonomy, systematics and evolution of the British theropod dinosaur Megalosaurus
Author: Benson, R. B. J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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The Middle and Late Jurassic theropod (Dinosauria: Archosauria) record of Britain is reviewed to support the inclusion of taxa from these time periods in a new cladistic analysis constructed to elucidate basal tetanuan relationships. British Middle Jurassic deposits have yielded the most abundant theropod fossil material of this age world-wide. The most productive British theropod localities of this epoch are Bathonian in age: Stonesfield, Oxfordshire and New Park Quarry, Gloucestershire. The large-bodied theropod assemblages of these localities are interpreted as monospecific. Abundant remains from these localities can be referred to Megalosaurus, the historically oldest dinosaur taxon. Two additional large-bodied tetanurans were present in British Bathonian Dinosaur ecosystems based on more fragmentary fossils. A minimum of two further, small-bodied taxa are indicated by teeth and postcranial remains. The British Late Jurassic strata are less productive but yield new data that contribute toward global biogeographic scenarios. Metriacanthosaurus (Oxfordian) is a sinraptorid allosauroid, Stokesosaurus (Tithonian) is a basal tyrannosauroid, and isolated remains of robust, large-bodied theropods (Kimmeridgian-Tithonian) show affinities with Megalosaurus or its sister taxon Torvosaurus. A new cladistic analysis focussing on basal tetanuran relationships includes 213 characters (of which 22 are new) and 41 taxa. Several of these taxa have never been included in a cladistic analysis: Chuandongocoelurus, Marshosaurus, Piveteaursaurus, ‘Megalosaurus’ hesperis and Magnosaurus nethercombensis. The content of groups within Spinosauroidea corresponds well with geography, indicating limited endemism across Pangaea among theropods of this age. Most Late Jurassic large-bodied theropods are allosauroids, and allosauroids are also abundant during this time period. This suggests faunal turnover between the Middle and Late Jurassic.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available