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Metriacanthosaurus is an extinct genus of large meat-eater that lived in Northern Europe near the end of the Jurassic Period. This carnivore was fairly typical of Jurassic theropods.[3] Metriacanthosaurus gets its name for its backbones, which have spines on top that are taller than in many meat-eaters (such as Allosaurus or Tyrannosaurus) but much smaller than those of Spinosaurus.[4]

At one time Metriacanthosaurus was thought to be the same as Megalosaurus, but later studies showed that it was different enough to give it a new name. It actually took nearly forty years to distinguish Metriacanthosaurus from Megalosaurus.[3]

Because so little is known about this dinosaur, any pictures of it or speculation on its habits are based on comparisons with meat-eating dinosaurs of which we have more complete skeletons.[4]


Jurassic Park

Metriacanthosaurus among the dinosaur embryos in the Cold Storage Room.

Metriacanthosaurus was a planned attraction for Jurassic Park, but only had 71% of its genome complete[5] before Dennis Nedry turned of the power and inadvertently caused the Isla Nublar Incident (1993).


Jurassic World

InGen successfully recreated Metriacanthosaurus for Masrani Global Corporation's Jurassic World. These Metriacanthosaurus on the website had some form of proto-feathers on their arms and up and down their spine. The color of these clones was brown with orange stripes on its body and tail and black stripes on its face and lime green on its crests, though its true appearance in the park is unknown. The new clones lived in the Cretaceous Cruise. Unlike the actual species, these clones are a meter smaller.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Upon being released from captivity after the Isla Nublar Incident of 2015, Metriacanthosaurus would hunt small herbivores in the dense forests.[6] But by 2018, it went under cruelty[7] and then fall back into extinction by unknown cause.[8]

It remains unknown whether any Metriacanthosaurus DNA were collected by the mercenaries before the eruption.


Behind the scenes

According to vertebrate paleontologist Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., the name Metriacanthosaurus on the park map and embryo coolers probably meant to refer to Yangchuanosaurus (which was then classified as a species of the Metriacanthosaurus genus).

In Jurassic Park, the name Metriacanthosaurus shows up on the list of embryos stored in refrigeration. This is probably because, for a short time in the mid-1980s, a paleontologist considered the much better known theropod Yangchuanosaurus to be a species of Metriacanthosaurus.[4]

In an email Holtz wrote:

As a side note, Spielberg & Crichton likely followed the same generic reference in "Jurassic Park", as "Metriacanthosaurus" is one of the dinosaur taxa whose DNA vials Nedry steals. Presumably, S & C were thinking about M. shangyouensis, which is on the cover of Paul's Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, rather than M. parkeri)."[9]

In an early version of Jurassic World: The Ride, Metriacanthosaurus was intended to appear.[10]


The Metriacanthosaurus skull in the Field Lab.