Fun Acrocanthosaurus Facts For Kids

Sharon Judith
Oct 20, 2022 By Sharon Judith
Originally Published on Sep 30, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
The behavior and character of this big and deadly dinosaur were very similar to the T-eex and Spinosaurus. Continue reading to discover more interesting Acrocanthosaurus facts that are sure to keep you hooked!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.0 Min

The Acrocanthosaurus was a carnivorous theropod that lived throughout the Early Cretaceous period about 115 million years ago in North America, particularly the USA. It is, in fact, the largest carnivorous theropod in its Carcharodontosaurus family.

In 1950, a team of paleontologists and scientists headed by J. Willis Stovall and Wann Langston.

Jr went excavating in the deserts of Oklahoma and discovered some very large fossilized bones and long vertebrae.

After some intensive research, Langston proposed Acracanthus atokaensis as the initial genus name for this dinosaur species but it later got changed to Acracanthus atokensis for publication purposes. The name 'Acrocanthosaurus' means 'high spined lizard' referring to this dinosaur's particularly big neural spines, giving it a unique ridge appearance on its spine.

Originally classified as a Spinosaurus because of its similar spine structure, most paleontologists believe that the Acrocanthosaurus was actually a carcharodontosaurid. This was because they found it was closely related to Carcharodontosaurus, which lived in Africa around the same time.

Scientists have debated that this ridge was probably to release heat and keep the dinosaur cool.

These dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous era made their homes in mountains ridges, marshes, floodplains, and swamps. These carnivores had a huge head, bulky arms, powerful hind legs, and a long tail that gave the Acrocanthosaurus stability when it ran.

The Acrocanthosaurus skull was a long and narrow skull with the brain having well-developed olfactory lobes. This is why these dinosaurs had a heightened sense of smell.

The huge size of this carnivorous predator made them fearless, often hunting prey like some larger sauropod species and other large herbivores too.

The reconstructed Acrocanthosaurus skeleton now exists in the Museum of Natural Sciences at North Carolina. Since its initial discovery in Oklahoma, several other fossil specimens have also been unearthed in Texas, Utah, and some parts of North Carolina.

If you'd like to discover more interesting facts on similar dinosaurs, check out our Chungkingosaurus fun facts for kids or Metriorhynchus amazing facts for kids that you're sure to enjoy!

Acrocanthosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Acrocanthosaurus'?

The Acrocanthosaurus, a large carnivore that lived during the Early Cretaceous period about 115 million years ago in North America, came from the Carcharodontosaurid family. Its name is pronounced as 'Ah-kroh-kan-tho-sore-us'.

What type of dinosaur was an Acrocanthosaurus?

The Acrocanthosaurus was a type of theropod that was massive in size and it shared its range with such sauropods as Astrodon and Sauroposideon. This dinosaur had a tall 'sail' along its neck, back, and tail, and this made it stand out from other theropods.

In which geological period did the Acrocanthosaurus roam the Earth?

Acrocanthosaurus dinosaurs, which had spines on their vertebrae forming a slight hump but not as prominent as those seen on camels, were believed to have roamed the Earth during the Early Cretaceous period about 115 million years ago.

When did the Acrocanthosaurus become extinct?

Like all dinosaurs, many scientists believe that the Acrocanthosaurus went extinct about 66 million years ago. The reasons for their extinction were most likely to be natural disasters like earthquakes or meteor hits!

Where did an Acrocanthosaurus live?

The Acrocanthosaurus, whose skeleton is on display in the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina, lived in places like mountain ridges, floodplains, swamps, and marshy lands.

What was an Acrocanthosaurus' habitat?

The habitat of this fierce and fragile hunter was found to be near mountain regions and areas like swamps and marshes. This carnivore with a ridge of muscle over its neck preyed on various dinosaurs like the Sauroposeidon and Tenontosaurus and living in such habitats would have made access to these species easier.

Who did an Acrocanthosaurus live with?

These fearless meat-eaters lived in groups or packs. Particularly, the Acrocanthosaurus lived alongside some Ankylosaurs and Hadrosaurs too. This animal also hunted prey in packs.

How long did an Acrocanthosaurus live?

This high-spined lizard lived roughly for about 70-80 years, which is the same number of years the present-day elephant lives for.

How did they reproduce?

There is not much known about the reproduction style of this carnivorous predator. They were oviparous, meaning that they reproduced by laying eggs. Once the eggs hatched, the young became independent at an early stage.

Acrocanthosaurus Fun Facts

What did an Acrocanthosaurus look like?

With its discovery in 1950 by paleontologists J. Willis Stovall and Wann Langston, Jr, the fossil material of this dinosaur gained a lot of public interest. Being the largest predator of its time, it stood at a length of 38 ft (11.5 m) and weighed about 13227.7 lb (6000 kg).

This worked as an advantage for them as hunting for prey became easier.

The skull of this animal was long and narrow, contributing to its big head. As the name of this dinosaur goes, it had neural spines on many of its vertebrae which were believed to support a ridge of muscle over its neck, back, and hips.

Some scientists suggest the ridge along its back would have been to let the animal cool off some heat or to even appear bigger to other predators and enemies. The Acrocanthosaurus was a bipedal predator.

This meant that like all other theropods, the forelimbs were not long enough and did not reach the ground. This dinosaur moved around only with its hindlegs.

Since its original discovery, many fossils have also been located in Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and North Carolina.

Recently, there have been speculations going around which state that the Acrocanthosaurus might have been closely related to the gigantic carnivore from Africa called Carcharodontosaurus. The complete skeleton now rests in the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina.

Plaeontologists and scientists have found plenty of Acrocanthosaurus tracks and footprints around Texas and a few parts of Oklahoma.

How many bones did an Acrocanthosaurus have?

The skeleton of the Acrocanthosaurus consisted of two vertebrae, partial hip bones, a femur, a partial fibula, and other bone fragments. Overall, these animals would have definitely had more than 150 bones!

How did they communicate?

Considering the huge mass of these animals that lived in the Early Cretaceous era, communication would have greatly involved body language along with vocal displays like loud growls and roars.

How big was an Acrocanthosaurus?

The Acrocanthosaurus size was massive! It was about 38 ft (11.5 m) in length and 13 ft (4 m) in height. They were as tall as an elephant and slightly shorter in length than a whale shark!

How fast could an Acrocanthosaurus move?

Acrocanthosaurus was an average yet swift runner! They could run as fast as 25 mph (40.2 kph). By working in groups, these dinosaurs were some of the most spectacular and dangerous predators of the Cretaceous era of America.

How much did an Acrocanthosaurus weigh?

This animal weighed about 13227.7 lb (6000 kg), the same as an African bush elephant!

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific male or female names for this animal. They are simply called by their common name which is Acrocanthosaurus. This theropod shared its range with the Astrodon and Sauroposideon which were sauropod animals.

What would you call a baby Acrocanthosaurus?

A baby Acrocanthosaurus is called a hatchling or a nestling, just like any other baby dinosaur!

What did they eat?

The Acrocanthosaurus diet was largely carnivorous. This theropod predator, which lived in North America and had neural spines on its vertebrae, hunted on big prey like large hadrosaurs and sauropods. Its jaws and three-clawed limbs made it easy to tear apart the carcasses.

How aggressive were they?

These big predators were very much aggressive and at the same time wild. Looking similar to the T-rex and Spinosaurus, this dinosaur had no fear whatsoever.

They were in fact the biggest dinosaur to have lived in their era. The aggressive behavior could be seen particularly when it was hunting for food, probably baring its sharp, pointed teeth and crouching slowly.

Did you know...

Many dinosaur enthusiasts and researchers have claimed that the limbs of the Acrocanthosaurus from North America were primarily for predatory functions only. Some also believed that the neural spines on the vertebrae could have been for sexual display with those having bigger spines being able to mate with more females.

Was the Acrocanthosaurus bigger than the T-rex?

At first glance, you'd think that the Acrocanthosaurus height resembled that of the T-rex but they were actually slightly smaller. However, the Acrocanthosaurus was equally deadly as a T-rex and both of these animals were major predators of their time.

Today, you can find the impressive Acrocanthosaurus model for display at the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina, USA.

How many Acrocanthosaurus fossils have been discovered?

The initial fossil remains of an Acrocanthosaurus were discovered in the '50s by J. Willis Stovall and Wann Langston, Jr. near Atoka, Oklahoma. Other fossil remains have also been found later in Texas, Utah, and Maryland. Their tracks and footprints have also been located largely in Texas.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Austroraptor interesting facts, or Ichthyovenator facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Acrocanthosaurus coloring pages.

Second image by DiBgd

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Written by Sharon Judith

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

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Sharon JudithBachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology

A humanities and Science student, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Psychology, Economics, and Sociology from Mount Carmel College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Science from Bournemouth University. She is passionate about research, content writing, and development, and has a keen interest in international finance and economics. With her strong analytical skills and inquisitive mind, she is always striving to deepen her knowledge and understanding of these subjects.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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