In the late 19th century, the remains of a species of dinosaur called the Majungasaurus were discovered in the Mahajanga Province in Madagascar. Studies have shown that these predators prowled Madagascar more than seventy million years ago. Although this species is not as well known as the triceratops or the brontosaurus, it is a fascinating dinosaur. Here are ten interesting facts about the Majungasaurus.
1. They Ate Each Other
Scientists believe that the Majungasaurus weren’t just carnivores, they were cannibals. Studies of bones have revealed teeth marks that are the exact same shape and size as those of a Majungasaurus. Furthermore, the spacing between the teeth is identical to the spacing of the Majungasaurus teeth. Due to the type and severity of the marks, scientists say that they could not have been caused by combat. They believe that the Majungasaurus ate each other.
2. They Had Limited Eye Movement
When you roll your eyes, you are using a part of the brain called the flocculus. An examination of a Majungasaurus skull has revealed that the cranial dimensions of this species mean it only had the capacity for a small floccular process. This means that they probably had only very limited eye movement and certainly would not have been able to move their eyes.
3. One Specimen Had Ten Vertebrae Missing
Scientists have discovered at least 20 Majungasaurus with a range of physical maladies. One specimen had at least ten vertebrae missing from the end of its tail, suggesting that it had been involved in some kind of accident. Another specimen had a broken toe.
4. They Were Quite Stocky
In comparison to other species of theropods, the Majungasaurus was quite a stocky dinosaur. It had shorter legs than similar species and a squat appearance.
5. The Villain in Jurassic World Was Related to the Majungasaurs
The villainous dinosaur in ‘Jurassic World’ was related to the Majungasaurus. The antagonist is a GMO called Indominus rex that has artificial horns that were4 derived from several species, including the Majungasaurs, the Rugorps, the Carnotaurus, and the Gigantosaurus. The horn of a Majungasaurus is better described as a bony protruding bump at the center of its head.
6. A 20-Year Mistake Was Uncovered by a Skull
The best example of a Majungasaurus skill was discovered in 1996. In incomplete cranial fossil had previously been discovered in the Mahajanga Province of Madagascar by Philippe Taquet in 1976. He and his colleagues mistakenly believed that they had discovered the Pachycephalosaurus. However, the 1996 discovery proved that Taquet had actually found the partial skull of the Majungasaurus.
7. Their Ancestors Lived in Gondwana
Although the Majungasaurus has only been found in Madagascar, similar species have been found in various locations that would once have been part of the large continent Gondwana. This continent split between 83 and 88 million years ago. Prior to its separation, it contained the Indian subcontinent, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and South America. Remains of species related to the Majungasaurus have been found in all of these locations.
8. They Have Inspired a Charity
A fake Majungasaurus mount is situated in the administration lobby of Stony Brook University. Paleontologist David Krause works in the university’s anatomical science department and has been digging in Madagascar since 1991. He was one of the scientists who helped uncover the skull of a Majungasaurus. The local community has often helped them in their work uncovering the remains of the Majungasaurus and Kraus wanted a way to give something back to the community. He founded the MadagascarAnkizy Fund to raise money for health care and building schools.
9. They Had Short Arms
The Majungasaurus had rather unusual upper limbs. While it had huge shoulder blades, this species’ arms were tiny. Not only were the arms short, the digits were so tiny that they probably could not be used independently, and scientists say that gripping would have been impossible. Strangely, they had extremely mobile wrist and elbow joints.
10. They Breathed Like Birds
Birds have a far superior respiratory system to mammals as they have air sacs close to their vertebrae for storing extra supplies of oxygen. This helps with their breathing at high altitudes. The Majungasaurus probably had a similar respiratory system as scientists found indentations along the spine that would suggest they had air sacs located there.