(meaning 'high-spined lizard') was a genus
of allosauroid theropod dinosaur
that existed in what is now North America
during the mid-Cretaceous Period
, approximately 125 to 100 million years ago
. Like most dinosaur genera, Acrocanthosaurus
contains only a single species, A. atokensis
. Its fossil
remains are found mainly in the U.S.
states of Oklahoma
, although teeth attributed to Acrocanthosaurus
have been found as far east as Maryland
Acrocanthosaurus was a bipedal predator. As the name suggests, it is best known for the high neural spines on many of its vertebrae, which most likely supported a ridge of muscle over the animal's neck, back and hips. Acrocanthosaurus was one of the largest theropods, approaching 12 meters (40 ft) in length, and weighing up to about 2.40 metric tons (2.65 short tons). Large theropod footprints discovered in Texas may have been made by Acrocanthosaurus, although there is no direct association with skeletal remains.
Recent discoveries have elucidated many details of its anatomy, allowing for specialized studies focusing on its brain structure and forelimb function. However, there is still debate over its evolutionary relationships, with some scientists classifying it as an allosaurid, and others as a carcharodontosaurid. Acrocanthosaurus was the largest theropod in its ecosystem and likely an apex predator which possibly preyed on large sauropods and ornithopods. (see more...)