|Named By:||Scott D. Sampson, Matthew Carrano, and Catherine A. Forster in 2001|
|Time Period:||Late Cretaceous, 70 Ma|
|Location:||Madagascar, Maevarano Formation|
|Size:||1.8 - 2 meters long|
|Fossil(s):||Parts of skull and post cranial skeleton. Combined remains make over half of a complete specimen. Two sets of remains have so far been discovered|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Reptilia | Dinosauria | Saurischia | Theropoda | Abelisauroidea | Noasauridae ||
Masiakasaurus is a genus of small predatory theropod dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. In Malagasy, masiaka means "vicious"; thus, the genus name means "vicious lizard". The type species, Masiakasaurus knopfleri, was named after the musician Mark Knopfler, whose music inspired the expedition crew. It was named in 2001 by Scott D. Sampson, Matthew Carrano, and Catherine A. Forster. Unlike most theropods, the front teeth of M. knopfleri projected forward instead of straight down. This unique dentition suggests that they had a specialized diet, perhaps including fish and other small prey. Other bones of the skeleton indicate that Masiakasaurus were bipedal, with much shorter forelimbs than hindlimbs. M. knopfleri reached an estimated adult body length of around 2 metres (6 ft 7 in).
Masiakasaurus lived around 70 million years ago, along with animals such as Majungasaurus, Rapetosaurus, and Rahonavis. Masiakasaurus was a member of the group Noasauridae, small predatory ceratosaurs found primarily in South America.