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Megalosaur

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Megalosaur

A megalosaur, Megalosaurus modernus, with a fresh kill.

The megalosaur, Megalosaurus modernus, is a surviving megalosaurid from the Mesozoic. It survives on Madagascar and spends most of its life scavenging. A species of dwarf megalosaur inhabits the smaller Seychelles islands.

The huge island of Madagascar that the megalosaur inhabits lies off the east coast of the Ethiopian continent. Much of the geographical and climatic changes that affected the rest of the world have passed this island by, and there has been little impetus for evolutionary change. Madagascar is almost a time capsule, revealing what animal life was like on Gondwana hundreds of millions of years ago. The biggest predator of the island is the megalosaur. It is a different species of megalosaur from that which inhabited Gondwana in Jurassic times, but it is still a large and active predator, about 8 to 10 metres (27-33 ft) long, that prowls through the forests, sometimes singly and sometimes in packs, hunting the large plant-eaters of the Madagascar. As it grows older and slower it lives as a solitary scavenger, devouring the corpses of already dead animals and the remains of the kills of younger megalosaurs.

The classic shape of a large non-avian theropod is retained in the megalosaur. Its sharp teeth and the powerful claws on the forelimbs are used for holding prey and tearing it up. The actual killing is done with great talons on the hind feet. As it walks the heavy head is held out at the front, balanced by the long heavy tail behind.

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