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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 lizard") is a genus of spinosaurid theropod dinosaur which lived during the Early Cretaceous Period of what is now West Africa.

Discovery and naming[edit]

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

Its fossils were found in 1973 by French paleontologist Philippe Taquet at Gadoufaoua, a locality within the Elrhaz Formation in Niger. The holotype, MNHN GDF 366, was found in the Tegema Beds dating from late Aptian. The material consists of two disarticulated premaxillae, a partial right maxilla, and a lower jaw fragment, likely from a juvenile individual. Several paratypes have been assigned: MNHN GDF 365, a snout of two articulated premaxillae; as well as MNHN GDF 357, 358, 359 and 361, four dorsal vertebrae.[1] These fossils share a similarity to those of Baryonyx and Suchomimus.

In 1998 the type species, Cristatusaurus lapparenti, was formally described by Taquet and American geologist Dale Russell. The generic name, originating from the Latin crista (for "crest"), refers to a Sagittal crest, on the snout. The specific name honours the late French paleontologist Albert-Félix de Lapparent.[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 sediment layers. In that case the name Cristatusaurus would have priority. Others 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.