This taxon was originally named by Huene (1920) to refer to a clade of large-bodied theropods. Over time this taxon became a paraphyletic “wastebasket” that included an assemblage of phylogenetically disparate large-bodied theropods, including Tyrannosaurus, Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Carnotaurus, and spinosauroids.
Holtz and Padian (1995:35A) coined a stem-based definition for Carnosauria in an abstract similar to one used later by Padian et al. (1999). Sereno (1997, 1998) used a simialar stem-based definition for Allosauroidea. Sereno and others have rejected the use of Carnosauria, given its history as a repository for disparate large-bodied theropods in traditional classifications. Initially, Gauthier (1986:9) tried to resuscitate Carnosauria as a clade, but he did not provide a phylogenetic definition and listed large-bodied taxa that now are recognized as a disparate assemblage (including abelisaurids, allosaurids, and tyrannosaurids).
Initially Holtz (1994) chose not employ Carnosauria, arguing that it was a historically polyphyletic taxon. Later, in an abstract, Holtz and Padian (1995) revived use of Carrnosauria as a stem-based taxon. In subsequent years, they and co-authors have provided variants of that definition (Padian et al. 1999), arguing that Gauthier’s (1986) use of the taxon has priority.
However, as mentioned above, Gauthier (1986) did not provide a definition for Carnosauria, and the taxa he included are now recognized as a disparate assemblage (including abelisaurids, allosauroids, and tyrannosaurids). As a result, the clade that they now want to recognise as Carnosauria has taxonomic content that differes very little from their use of Allosauroidea or Allosauridae. This is a poor match to the historical use of Carnosauria. And this is a very different history than that for Coleurosauria, which, by contrast, (1) was defined by Gauthier (1986), (2) was used in subsequent cladistic analyses by several authors, and (3) still includes most of the genera historically associated with the taxon.