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Temporal range: Middle Jurassic
|An artist's illustration of Proceratosaurus bradleyi|
von Huene, 1926
| †Proceratosaurus bradleyi|
Woodward, 1910 [originally Megalosaurus]
Proceratosaurus ("before Ceratosaurus") is a genus of small-sized (9.8 feet long) theropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic. It is a tyrannosauroid that fed on insects, lizards, mammals, and frogs. It lived in England. It has a small, pointed crest on its snout that looks similar to that of Ceratosaurus. It lived alongside other theropods, including Megalosaurus and Eustreptospondylus, sauropods, such as Cetiosaurus, stegosaurs, like Lexovisaurus, and ornithopods, like Callovosaurus and Camptosaurus.
Despite its size, Proceratosaurus was a fast and deadly carnivore. Its closet relatives are Chinese Guanlong and Russian Kileskus. It is almost impossible to believe that Proceratosaurus would evolve into giant, 43-foot long predators like Tyrannosaurus or Tarbosaurus. Proceratosaurus itself would go on to create the giant cretaceous carnivores like Daspletosaurus, Alioramus, Yutyrannus, Gorgosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus.
Arthur Smith Woodward, who initially studied Proceratosaurus, originally thought it to be an ancestor of the Late Jurassic Ceratosaurus, due to the similarity of their nasal crests. Later study during the 1930s by Friedrich von Huene supported this interpretation, and Huene thought both dinosaurs represented members of the group Coelurosauria.
It was not until the late 1980s, after Ceratosaurus had been shown to be a much more primitive theropod and not a coelurosaur, that the classification of Proceratosaurus was again re-examined. Gregory S. Paul suggested that it was a close relative of Ornitholestes, again mainly due to the crest on the nose (though the idea that Ornitholestes bore a nasal crest was later disproved). Paul considered both Proceratosaurus and Ornitholestes to be neither ceratosaurs nor coelurosaurs, but instead primitive allosauroids. Furthermore, Paul considered the much larger dinosaur Piveteausaurus to be the same genus as Proceratosaurus, making Piveteausaurus a junior synonym. However, no overlapping bones between the two had yet been exposed from the rock around their fossils, and future study showed that they were indeed distinct.
In popular culture
- In Jurassic Park (film), Proceratosaurus can be seen to far right of the embryo storage chamber next to Gallimimus.
- Proceratosaurus appeared in the video game Jurassic World: Evolution.