Roar-some Facts About The Caenagnathus That Kids Will Love


With a lack of ample fossils and evidence, Caenagnathus went through a confusing history of being named and reassigned on different reptilian groups and classifications. This part-bird, part-dinosaur species from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada, was studied heavily to conclude its closest relatives and sister groups. Finally, through years of Cretaceous research and fossil investigation, paleontologists made it possible for 'recent jaws' to distinguish it from Chirostenotes to Caenagnathoidea. Caenagnathus holds a confusing yet fascinating history from its very limited remains. Let's learn all about this unusual dinosaur that roamed the Earth!

Caenagnathus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Caenagnathus'?

Caenagnathus is pronounced as 'see-nag-naah-thus'. The name is inspired by its family of bird-like dinosaurs called Caenagnathidae.

What type of dinosaur was a Caenagnathus?

Caenagnathus belongs to the oviraptorosaurian group of dinosaurs, which consists of a group of birds and flightless creatures closely related to the ostrich of the current generation. Found in the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada, paleontologists consider this group of dinosaurs to be oviraptorosaurian, which means that they could have been greedy 'egg thief lizards'.

In which geological period did the Caenagnathus roam the Earth?

According to Cretaceous research, Caenagnathus roamed around Earth during the Late Cretaceous and were found in the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada.

When did Caenagnathus become Extinct?

This animal must have roamed until the Late Cretaceous period.

Where did a Caenagnathus live?

The Caenagnathus genus existed during the Late Cretaceous age in North America. Places such as Hell Creek in Montana and Judith River near Alberta, Canada, contributed to Caenagnathidae's history as being the home to these species and their fossils through the years.

What was Caenagnathus' habitat?

Caenagnathus, just like oviraptorosaurian species, existed amidst terrestrial habitat, which included a combination of aquatic bodies, forests, drylands, grasslands, and caves.

Who did Caenagnathus live with?

Caenagnathus lived with other caenagnathids such as Anzu, unnamed species of Elmisaurine, and various other oviraptorosaurian species as found through the fossils excavated in Hell Creek Formation, North America.

How long did a Caenagnathus live?

The life span of this animal is still a mystery that paleontologists are actively trying to decipher.

How did they reproduce?

Being an oviraptorosaurian dinosaur, Caenagnathus was an oviparous species and laid eggs to reproduce.

Caenagnathus Fun Facts

What did a Caenagnathus look like?

Caenagnathus is a caenagnathid oviraptorosaurian dinosaur. The Caenagnathidae family is composed of bird-like and non-avian maniraptoran creatures, consisting of both the features of a giant lizard and feathered bird. Like other Caenagnathidae members, Caenagnathus owned an elongated neck, special beak, short tail, and a coat full of feathers. Its appearance can be compared to its closest relative dinosaur called Anzu.

Caenagnathus genus belonged to the Late Cretaceous period.

How many bones did a Caenagnathus have?

From the entire anatomy of the fossils, the only remains found were hand bones, tail vertebra, lower jaws, and hind limbs.

How did they communicate?

Caenagnathus species' communication mode and mediums are still a mystery for researchers and paleontologists.

How big was a Caenagnathus?

Initially, estimating the weight and size of a Caenagnathus through a set of jaws was extremely difficult for paleontologists. Caenagnathus' comparison to Caenagnathidae helped paleontologists to conclude its appearance to be similar to another dinosaur of the same family group called Anzu. These creatures were relatively smaller than other oviraptorosaurs, such as Gigantoraptor, which was 16 ft (5 m) tall.

How fast could a Caenagnathus move?

Caenagnathus' exact movement is unknown, but being part of the oviraptorosaurian group, the creature was significantly faster than many other dinosaur species. One of the sister species, Oviraptor, is known for its high speed, which is up to 43 mph (69 kph). Similarly, it is assumed Caenagnathus may have had the same speedy movement.

How much did a Caenagnathus weigh?

This animal weighed about a maximum of 212 lb (96 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male and female Caenagnathus did not have specific names.

What would you call a baby Caenagnathus?

No specific names were created to refer to Caenagnathus babies. Paleontologists usually use the word 'juvenile' to refer to a subadult dinosaur species fossil and must have been using the same for Caenagnathus remains.

What did they eat?

Caenagnathus had a long, shovel-like beak. The remaining lower jaw from the excavation was hollow and air-filled, containing teeth like ridges instead of well-structured teeth. This unusual build suggested it to be not as strong as it should be for a powerful bite; hence the creature was known to be omnivorous. Small vertebrates, eggs, and leaves are supposedly their food.

How aggressive were they?

Lack of strong jaw made it difficult for them to bite, but their speed and territorial behavior may have caused them to be aggressive.

Did You Know...

Caenagnathus was an oviraptorosaurian dinosaur, a group known as 'egg-thief lizards'.

R. M. Sternberg, in his Journal of Paleontology, defined Caenagnathus as a 'toothless' bird.

The Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences as well as Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History store great insights into Caenagnathus and its family.


*We've been unable to source an image of Caenagnathus and have used an image of Nomingia instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Caenagnathus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].

**We've been unable to source an image of Caenagnathus and have used an image of Velociraptor instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Caenagnathus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].

Subscribe for virtual tools, STEM-inspired play, creative tips and more

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s and and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.