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The Ceratosaurus dinosaur was a meat eating dinosaur that was a theropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, about 161-146 million years ago. The Ceratosauridae genus was first described by Othniel Charles Marsh who was an American paleontologist in 1884. The description was done on the fossils discovered of a nearly complete skeleton in the Garden Park area of Colorado, and the rocks belonged to the Morrison Formation. The genus name means 'horned lizard' and it is derived from the Greek words 'keratos' meaning 'horn' and 'saurus' meaning 'lizard'. Therefore, the Ceratosaurus was also known as the horned lizard. After the excavation, the specimens were sent to the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. As the skeleton was almost complete, it was one of the most famous Theropoda discovered in the world. The skeleton was transferred to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC in the year 1898-1899.
After the first fossil specimen, two other types of specimens were described under the Ceratosaurus nasicornis: Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus and Ceratosaurus magnicornis. These were described from the fossil specimen found in the Cleveland Lloyd quarry of Utah. The validity of these new types found in Utah is still questionable, yet they have individual skeletons representing the different growth stages. In 2000, the presence of a juvenile skeleton in Portugal was reported and this proved that the presence of the fossils of this Dinosauria was outside North America as well. More fragmentary remains have been found in present-day areas of Uruguay, Tanzania, and Switzerland.
Some scientists believed that the Ceratosaurus and Ceratosaurus skull are closely related to the Genyodectes from present day Argentina, while some scientists referred that it had common features with the Proceratosaurus from England. Later, these scientists undertook further research and claimed that these theropods weren't related.
Scroll down to read about the Ceratosaurus's life, what they fed on, their habits, and other exciting details! If you want to discover about other dinosaurs like the Ceratosaurus, take a look at Chilantaisaurus and Heterodontosaurus facts.
Ceratosaurus pronunciation is quite easy and it is pronounced as 'keh-rat-oh-sore-us'.
The Ceratosaurus nasicornis was a meat eating dinosaur that was a theropod dinosaur and was discovered in the Garden Park area of Colorado, whose rocks belonged to the Morrison Formation. This species belonged to the Late Jurassic period, which was about 161-146 million years ago.
After the excavation, the specimens were sent to the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. The genus name means 'horned lizard' and it is derived from the Greek words 'keratos' meaning 'horn' and 'saurus' meaning 'lizard'. Therefore, the Ceratosaurus was also known as the horned lizard.
This dinosaur species lived during the Late Jurassic period, about 161-146 million years ago.
Dinosaurs, in general, went extinct almost 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period, after living on the earth for about 165 million years. This species however belonged to the Late Jurassic period, which was about 161-146 million years ago.
This Late Jurassic period dinosaur was a predator and therefore lived in a range of areas that had solid land and vegetation. They hunted on sauropods and lived in areas with cool and warm temperatures and coastal areas which were suitable for these dinosaurs.
The fossil remains of the dinosaur were found in present day range areas of North America, Uruguay, Portugal, Tanzania, and Switzerland.
The Ceratosaurus was an aggressive carnivorous animal that lived during the Late Jurassic period. It was possible that these reptiles stayed alone or used to stay in packs of three or four. They survived well in areas that had smaller sauropods. The Ceratosaurus shared its habitat with other Theropoda dinosaurs like the Allosaurus and Torvosaurus that lived during the Late Jurassic period. To maintain peace in the territory, they claimed different areas and the Ceratosaurus hunted more plant-eating dinosaurs and also fed on aquatic animals like fish.
The Ceratosaurus lived until the age of 72 years, unlike other meat-eating dinosaurs that had a lower life span.
Ceratosauridae theropods, much like other reptiles, mated with each other during the breeding season and in the case of this breed, the female dinosaur laid eggs. The eggs hatched after a certain period of time and newborn dinosaurs came out. Adult dinosaurs took care of the newborns until they could move with their parents or go along with their new family.
The Ceratosaurus size is almost 208.66- 225 in (5.3-5.69 m) in length and the Ceratosaurus height is almost 236.22 in (6 m). The Ceratosaurus weighed almost 922-1480 lb (418-670 kg). This was speculated by scientists because different specimens gave different results.
This dinosaur was quite medium in size and was characterized by its distinctive features. It had a deep jaw with blade like sharp teeth that were distinct and were used as a weapon to prey on animals. It had a nasal horn right in the middle of the wide snout and the horn was probably only for display and served no purpose. It also had a smaller horn over the eye. The forelimbs of the dinosaur were small and the hand had four fingers.
They also had a row of bony plates known as the osteoderm in unknown positions on the animals. The tail was deep from the top to the bottom. It was stiff and rigid, unlike other dinosaurs who had a whip like tail. The head of the dinosaur was long and wide and their lower jaw had fewer teeth than the upper jaw.
The Ceratosaurus skeleton was nearly complete when excavated, but due to the absence of most of it, the total number of bones can't be stated.
There is no specific mention of how they communicated as it is quite difficult to find, but they definitely didn't have modern means of communication. Like any other animal, dinosaurs also communicated by making sounds and using their body language. These might have included hoots and hollers to communicate. Being carnivorous predators, these types of species had a high pitched growl and it also helped to call for help during hunting.
The Ceratosaurus size is almost 208.66- 225 in (5.3-5.69 m) in length and the Ceratosaurus height is almost 236.22 in (6 m). This makes it almost similar in length to the Nanotyrannus which is 196 in (5 m) in length, but about two times taller than the latter which is 78 in (2 m) in height.
The Ceratosaurus dinosaur was a medium sized dinosaur and even though it had a strong built, it wasn't fast like other theropod species. It could run at a speed of 20-30 mph (32.1-48.2 kph).
Ceratosaurus weight was almost 922-1480 lb (418-670 kg), which makes it almost five times lighter in weight than the Torvosaurus which was 7936-9920 lb (3599-4499 kg) in weight.
There is no specific name for the male or female dinosaurs of this species and are commonly known as Ceratosaurus or Ceratosaurus nasicornis.
The newborn dinosaur was known as hatchling or nestling. This was common for most dinosaur species. There is no specific information on the names of newborns for this species as of now.
The dinosaur Ceratosaurus diet consisted of smaller sauropods and stegosaurs. Some paleontologists also suggest that this dinosaur fed on fish and other aquatic animals as well. In this Late Jurassic period, dinosaurs had sharp teeth and used them to bite into their prey and also used their horns to injure them.
Being predators, it was quite natural for these species to be aggressive. In order to avoid conflicts, they stayed solitary or inhabited in a group of two or three. They also shared their habitat with other dinosaurs like the Allosaurus and Torvosaurus but chose different areas to inhabit in order to keep the peace.
Among theropods, only Centrosaurs had the row of bony plates called osteoderms along the middle of the body like crocodiles. They used their horns to protect themselves, very much like crocodiles.
The Ceratosaurus was an aggressive carnivorous animal and therefore it was possible that they stayed alone or used to stay in packs of three or four. They survived well in areas that had smaller sauropods except the Nigersaurus. The Ceratosaurus shared its habitat with other Theropoda dinosaurs like the Allosaurus and Torvosaurus. To maintain peace in the territory, they claimed different areas and the Ceratosaurus hunted more plant-eating dinosaurs and also fed on aquatic animals like fish.
Ceratosaurus teeth were blade-like which enabled it to bite into the flesh of most sauropods. The Tyrannosaurus rex is the only dinosaur with the maximum bite force because of its sharp teeth and in comparison to that, the Ceratosaurus had a stronger bite force than most predators.
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 Hesperosaurus facts, or puertasaurus facts for kids pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Ceratosaurus coloring pages.
Main image by Jens Lallensack
Second image by Jens Lallensack