Gigantosaurus (from Ancient Greek γίγας (gígas) 'giant', and σαυρος (sauros) 'lizard') is a dubious genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay Formation of England.[1] The type species, Gigantosaurus megalonyx, was named and described by Harry Govier Seeley in 1869.[2] Its syntype series consists of several separately discovered sauropod bones found in Cambridgeshire, including two caudal (tail) vertebrae (CAMSM J.29477 and CAMSM J.29478), the distal end of a tibia (CAMSM J.29483), a cast of the right radius (CAMSM J.29482), a cast of phalanx (CAMSM J.29479) and an osteoderm (CAMSM J.29481).[3] It was synonymised to Ornithopsis humerocristatus by Richard Lydekker in 1888[4] and to Pelorosaurus by Friedrich von Huene in 1909.[5] Today it is considered a nomen dubium.

Temporal range: Kimmeridgian
Gigantosaurus megalonyx syntype.png
Part of the syntype series of G. megalonyx (from left to right: CAMSM J.29477, CAMSM J.29478, CAMSM J.29479 and CAMSM J.29483)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Genus: Gigantosaurus
Seeley, 1869
G. megalonyx
Binomial name
Gigantosaurus megalonyx
Seeley, 1869

Because of these references Eberhard Fraas incorrectly assumed in 1908 the name was available for other species and he used it, despite it being preoccupied, for African material totally unrelated to the British finds.[6] As a result, the name Gigantosaurus factored into the convoluted taxonomic history of the African dinosaurs Barosaurus, Tornieria, and Janenschia. A discussion of this can be found in the main Tornieria article.


  1. ^ Holtz, Thomas R. (1995-08-02). "Re: A nomenclatural problem". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2006-04-17.
  2. ^ Seeley, H.G., (1869), Index to the Fossil Remains of Aves, Ornithosauria, and Reptilia from the Secondary System of Strata, arranged in the Woodwardian Museum of the University of Cambridge. III. Geological Magazine 7
  3. ^ Martill, D.M., Naish, D. & Earland, S. (2006). Dinosaurs in marine strata: evidence from the British Jurassic, including a review of the allochthonous vertebrate assemblage from the marine Kimmeridge Clay Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Great Britain. In: Colectivo Arqueológico y Paleontológico Salense, (ed.) Actas de las III Jornadas Internacionales sobre Paleontología de Dinosaurios y su Entorno, 16–17 Sep. 2004. Salas de los Infantes, Burgos, 47–84.
  4. ^ Lydekker, R. (1888). Catalogue of the Fossil Reptilia and Amphibia in the British Museum (Natural History). Part I. Containing the Orders Ornithosauria, Crocodilia, Dinosauria, Squamata, Rhynchocephalia, and Proterosauria. British Museum (Natural History):London, 1-309.
  5. ^ F. v. Huene. (1909). Skizze zu einer Systematik und Stammesgeschichte der Dinosaurier [Sketch of the systematics and origins of the dinosaurs]. Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paläontologie 1909:12-22
  6. ^ Fraas, E. (1908), "Ostafrikanische dinosaurier". Palaeontographica, 55:105-1