Masiakasaurus was a carnivorous dinosaur that had a small body and used its small teeth to catch insects. It belongs to the genus of small predatory theropods from the late Cretaceous period. 

Key Facts

Masiakasaurus pronunciationmah-SHEE-ah-kah-SAWR-us
What does Masiakasaurus mean?The name Masiakasaurus means ‘vicious lizard’  where it came from the Malagasy word ‘masiaka’ meaning vicious. The species’ name was based on the musician Mark Knopfler, whose music inspired the researchers.
Dinosaur typeTheropod
On the menuCarnivore
Length5.9 ft to 6.6 ft
Height 4.1 ft
Weight45.36 kg to 90.72 kg
Life expectancyThe exact life expectancy of Masiakasaurus is not yet identified.
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speedThere are no exact numbers for its top speed but it is said to have the same speed as a wolf. 
When they livedMasiakasaurus existed during the Late Cretaceous period, from 70 million to 66 million years ago.
Where they have been found?Masiakasaurus were small predators that used to inhabit some areas in Madagascar, an island near the southeastern shore of Africa.

When & Where

Masiakasaurus was discovered in 2001 by paleontologists Catherine A. Foster, Matthew Carrano and Scott D. Samson. The fossil remains consisted of about 40% of the dinosaur’s skeleton which was found near the Berivotra. The segments collected include; the skull, the unique teeth that were recovered in the Maevarano Formation along with the hind limbs, humerus, pubis and a few vertebrae. 

In 2011, other bone fragments were described after being discovered such as facial bones, ribcage, pectoral girdle, braincase, initial parts of hands, dorsal vertebral column and cervical area. 

Size & Weight

Masiakasaurus was a small predator that measured 5.9 ft to 6.6 ft in length, 4.1 ft tall and weighed about 45.36 kg to 90.72 kg

Mobility & Diet

Since their front teeth were a bit unusual for a theropod, it is said that it was due to their adaptation to grasping their small prey. This is a meat-loving dinosaur, which explains why it was fed by small invertebrates like snakes, fish, mammals and lizards. They were known to be territorial and very aggressive. 

Interesting Points

  • This theropod dinosaur was given the scientific name Masiakasaurus knopfleri.
  • It had unique teeth that were projected forward instead of the usual straight down. 
  • The dentition showed that they had a special diet that included fish and other small animals.
  • It is said that Masiakasaurus became extinct 70 million years ago.
  • It used to live with other dinosaurs like Majungasaurus, Rapetosaurus and Rahonavis.
  • They are said to be smaller than humans. It usually takes 8 to 10 years for them to be developed to a size of a small dog
  • Masiakasaurus jaws are notably different from any other theropod dinosaur. It had a heterodont procumbent dentition that can’t be seen by the other Noasaurus.