The Acrocanthosaurus (meaning “high spined lizard”), is named for the long spikes along its spine. This dinosaur lived in the United States during the Early Cretaceous period. Fossil remains have been found in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. Teeth have been found as far east as the state of Maryland.
Acrocanthosaurus was a classic predator and one of the largest bipedal flesh eating dinosaurs. It had a 4.5 foot long, low and narrow head, 68 sharp serrated teeth, and powerful legs. The most significant feature of this dinosaur was a series of 17 inch spikes running from its vertebrae, extending along the neck and tail. These spikes may have formed a thick, fleshy sail on its back. This dinosaur walked on two legs, was 30 to 40 feet long, and weighed about 2.5 tons. It had powerful arms, and each hand had three fingers, equipped with long, sickle-like claws.
This natural history set includes the model of the skull of Acrocanthosaurus. The weight-reducing opening in front of the eye socket was quite large, more than a quarter of the length of the skull and two-thirds of its height. The outside surface of the upper jaw bone and the upper surface of the nasal bone on the roof of the snout were not nearly as rough-textured as its relative, the Giganotosaurus. Long, low ridges arose from the nasal bones, running along each side of the snout from the nostril back to the eye, where they continued onto the lachrymal bones.
Nineteen curved, serrated teeth lined each side of the upper jaw, but a tooth count for the lower jaw has not been published. Acrocanthosaurus teeth were wider and did not have the wrinkled texture that characterized the carcharodontosaurids. The tooth-bearing lower jaw bone was squared off at the front edge, as in Giganotosaurus, and shallow, while the rest of the jaw behind it became very deep. Acrocanthosaurus and Giganotosaurus shared a thick horizontal ridge on the outside surface of the bone of the lower jaw, underneath the articulation with the skull.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences contains several Acrocanthosaurus pieces including a full skeleton and skull of this prehistoric predator.