Name means: High-Spined Reptile


Species: atokensis

Range: Early Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian, 116-110 MYA) of Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, possibly Utah, Canada, and Maryland

Size estimate: 35-40 ft length, 6 tons

Discovery: J. W. Stovall & W. Langston Jr., 1950

Classification: dinosauria, saurischia, therapoda, allosauroidea, carcharodontosauridae


Acrocanthosaurus rivaled the famous Tyrannosaurus rex in size. Scans of Acrocanthosaurus’ braincase show that its brain resembled crocodile brains more than birds'. These scans also show that it normally held its head pointed slightly downward. Its powerful arms had a limited range of motion. They may have held prey in place while the animal used its jaws. Elongated spines on its backbones gave Acrocanthosaurus a humpbacked look. This hump may have attracted mates or scared rivals. If Acrocanthosaurus used its hump for showing off, bright colors or spiky scales would draw attention to it. We don’t have skin fossils from this animal or its close relatives, so we don’t know if it actually had scales like the ones on this sculpture.


Like Tyrannosaurus, its size and strength may have made it the apex predator of its area. You can see a few of the other animals that lived with Acrocanthosaurus here in the park: look for Tenontosaurus and Deinonychus. It also may have hunted sauropods like Astrodon and spiky nodosaurs like Sauropelta

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