[D] Neovenator salerii [Su] [sG] [T]
Hutt, Martill & Barker, 1996
Cretaceous Early Barremian
Saurischia Theropoda Tetanurae Carnosauria Carcharodontosauridae
Wessex Formation, Isle of Wight, England
7 > 10 meter
Genus - Typespecies - Skull
Based on most of a skeleton and partial skull.
The remarkable thing about Neovenator MIWG6348 is the shape of the skull profile: this has been described as \\\\\\\'puffin-like\\\\\\\'. The naris is huge. The teeth have very much slipped out of their sockets. Neovenator was certainly the major flesh-eater around in the UK at this time. The pleurocoels continue troughout the dorsal column.
Experts have confirmed that Neovenator is a previously unknown species, distantly related to the Allosaurus from North America but lighter and quicker. The fossilised bones were first found in 1978 but scientists had only recently dug them all out. Hutt was delighted to find such a complete skeleton. Neovenator has five premaxillary teeth (as does Allosaurus, but not Sinraptor or any other carnosaur).
Neovenator is rather complete approx. 70% of the skeleton is known. It has avetheropodan characters (e.g. large pubic boot) and is assigned to the Allosauroidea Sereno et al. , 1994, on the basis of a nasal that participates in the antorbital fossa.Left metatarsals II and IV are there, as is a complete phalangeal set for met IV. Three pedal unguals have been found, the largest of which has an odd shallow grove along the dorsal surface.
Naish et al..(2001) distinguish Neovenator from other theropods based on the shape of the raised crests of the nasals (not known at the time of description) and a dorsal groove on at least one of the pedal ungual phalanges. Additionally, Neovenator possesses premaxillae with a ridge- and groove structure on their medial surfaces, a condition not yet reported in other theropods. Holtz (1998) found Neovenator to be the sister taxon of Allosaurus, while Naish et al. (2001) speculated that is was carcharodontosaurid. Although the original material suggests that Neovenator reached a length of 7 meter, isolated remains indicate individuals as long as 10 meter.