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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Cristatusaurus lapparenti fragments.JPG
Holotype (MNHN GDF 366), consisting of jaw fossils, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Saurischia
Family: Spinosauridae
Subfamily: Baryonychinae
Genus: Cristatusaurus
Species: C. lapparenti
Binomial name
Cristatusaurus lapparenti
Taquet and Russell, 1998

Cristatusaurus (meaning "Crested reptile") is an extinct genus of spinosaurid theropod dinosaur. It lived during the Early Cretaceous Period of what is now West Africa.

Cristatusaurus lapparenti claw fossil, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris
Alternate views of the jaw fragments

Its fossils were found by Philippe Taquet at Gadoufaoua in Niger in 1973. These fossils are quite similar to those of Baryonyx and Suchomimus. The type species, Cristatusaurus lapparenti, was formally described by Taquet and Dale Russell, in 1998. The generic name refers to a crest, crista in Latin, on the snout. The specific name honours the late Albert-Félix de Lapparent.[1]

The holotype, MNHN GDF 366, was found in the Tegema Beds dating from late Aptian. It consists of two disarticulated praemaxillae, a right maxilla and a lower jaw fragment, from a juvenile individual. Several paratypes have been assigned: MNHN GDF 365, a snout of two articulated praemaxillae, and MNHN GDF 357, 358, 359 en 361, four dorsal vertebrae.[1]

There is some debate over the identity of this creature, in that some argue that it is probably the same dinosaur as Suchomimus, which has also been found in Niger, in the same layers. In that case the name Cristatusaurus would have priority. Other have concluded, however, that Cristatusaurus is a nomen dubium, considering it indistinguishable from both Suchomimus and Baryonyx.[2]


  1. ^ a b Taquet, P. and Russell, D.A. (1998). "New data on spinosaurid dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous of the Sahara". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences à Paris, Sciences de la Terre et des Planètes 327: 347-353
  2. ^ Rauhut, O.W.M. (2003). "The interrelationships and evolution of basal theropod dinosaurs". Special Papers in Palaeontology 69: 1-213.