Fun Chindesaurus Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Nov 28, 2022 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Sep 16, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Read further to discover some awesome Chindesaurus facts!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.5 Min

The Chindesaurus was an ancient dinosaur belonging to the Theropoda family. Fossils of these dinosaurs were discovered in parts of North America, specifically in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.

The scientific name of this species is Chindesaurus bryansmalli, and it was named after Bryan Small, the scientist who discovered them. These dinosaurs were some of the oldest dinosaurs in existence, walking the earth in the Late Triassic period.

The very first specimen was a partial Chindesaurus skeleton and was discovered in Chinde Point in Arizona. This specimen was nicknamed Gertie, after a popular cartoon in North America.

These fossils were the only complete specimen of this dinosaur and consisted of a left femur, right femur, right tibia hip bones, ankle bones, and vertebrae. No Chindesaurus skull has ever been found.

The name of this dinosaur was derived from the Navajo word 'chindii', meaning 'ghost' or 'spirit', and the Greek word 'sauros', meaning 'dinosaur'. As a result, this specimen was often referred to as the ghost lizard or the spirit of Chindi Point among the Navajo.

Only five specimens have been found and confirmed to be this dinosaur.

A sixth specimen, the Caseosaurus, was also found, but some scientists believe that this is the holotype of another dinosaur altogether.

From the fossils that were discovered, these late Triassic period dinosaurs were originally thought to be theropods belonging to the Herrerasauridae family but scientists, Nesbitt and Irmis, proposed that these dinosaurs were actually basal saurischians. Although many scientists supported this theory that the Chindesaurus was actually a basal saurischian, it is commonly believed that they are herrerasaurid theropods.

It is believed that the lizard of Chinde Point was a terrestrial, bipedal dinosaur, and its habitat was the swamps and swampy forests of North America (New Mexico and Arizona).

Due to its close relation to Navajo land (Chinde Point), the lizard of Chinde Point has always been a significant aspect of natural history, but even more so of American history.

Read further to discover some fun facts, and do check out our Orodromeus facts and Zigongosaurus facts pages.

Chindesaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Chindesaurus'?

Chindesaurus is pronounced how it is spelled. It can be broken down into three syllables, 'chin-de-saurus'.

What type of dinosaur was a Chindesaurus?

The Chindesaurus (Chindesaurus bryansmalli) is predatory saurischia dinosaur. The Chindesaurus is a theropod dinosaur.

In which geological period did Chindesaurus roam the earth?

The Chindesaurus (Chindesaurus bryansmalli) is a theropod dinosaur that roamed the earth in the Late Triassic period, over 213-120 million years ago. The first fossil was discovered at Chinde Point in Arizona.

When did the Chindesaurus become extinct?

The Chindesaurus (Chindesaurus bryansmalli) went extinct in the late Triassic period, over 120 million years ago.

Where did Chindesaurus live?

The Chindesaurus (Chindesaurus bryansmalli) was a theropod dinosaur whose fossils were found in parts of North America, specifically in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

In addition to the Chinde Point in Arizona, more fossils were discovered in the southern and western parts of North America. Fossils were found in the Bull Canyon Formation, The Haydon Quarry, and the Chinle Formation of New Mexico. Fossils were also discovered in Texas.

What was the Chindesaurus' habitat?

Not much is known about the habitat of these dinosaurs, but it can be assumed that they lived in forests, open plains, and fields. The first fossil was found at Chinde Point in Arizona.

Who did Chindesaurus live with?

Based on the behavior of similar dinosaurs, it can be assumed that the Chindesaurus was a pack dinosaur that lived in groups of other dinosaurs of the same species.

How long did a Chindesaurus live?

The lifespan of the Chindesaurus is not known. This is because only a holotype fossil of a few bones was found, and the Chindesaurus was put together by guesswork based on similar dinosaurs.

How did they reproduce?

The Chindesaurus reproduced oviviviparously. This means that they reproduced by means of laying eggs followed by a gestation period in the mother. The average litter size and breeding patterns of this dinosaur are not known.

Chindesaurus Fun Facts

What did Chindesaurus look like?

The Chindesaurus was a medium sized theropod with a long neck, a short body, and long legs and they were some of the oldest dinosaurs in existence, walking the earth in the Late Triassic period. This theropod was a bipedal dinosaur, meaning that it used to move around using its two back feet.

It grew to lengths in the range of 9.9-13.1 ft (3-4 m) according to Long and Murry, the scientists that discovered this dinosaur. The vertebrae near its head were characterized by a ridge on its lower end.

Its dorsal vertebrae were short and wide, and it has two unfused and wide hip vertebrae. The tail vertebrae were large and elongated. It also has a large femur with a rectangular femur head.

The femur was also curved and smooth. No skull bones have been found of this species.

This dinosaur was characterized by its long neck and long hind legs.

How many bones did a Chindesaurus have?

It is unknown how many bones they had from the discovered fossil. This is because not all of their bones have been found. The specimen found only included the hip bones, vertebrae, neck bones, leg and arm bones.

How did they communicate?

Not much is known about how these dinosaurs used to communicate. However, it can be speculated that they communicated using a combination of auditory and visual signals.

How big was the Chindesaurus?

The Chindesaurus size was medium and could grow to a length of 13.1 ft (4 m). They are often said to have the same weight as the common wolf, around 50-100 lb (23-45 kg).

How fast could a Chindesaurus move?

Due to their long hind legs, it is believed that these dinosaurs could sprint very fast.

How much did a Chindesaurus weigh?

The Chindesaurus was said to weigh the same as the common wolf, around 50-100 lb (23-45 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of this species. They are simply referred to as males or females.

What would you call a baby Chindesaurus?

The baby Chindesaurus is referred to as a juvenile.

What did they eat?

This species was carnivorous in nature, which meant that their diet consisted of a range of animals from smaller dinosaurs to birds and other mammals.

How aggressive were they?

Not much is known about the aggression of this species. However, they were carnivorous in nature, so it can be speculated that these dinosaurs were aggressive towards prey.

Did you know...

One of the specimens found consisted of a partial hip bone. Although some scientists still consider it to be a type of Chindesaurus, it has been assigned as a new holotype for subspecies known as the Caseosaurus.

The Caseosaurus was also believed to be closely related to the Herrerasaurid (Hererras Lizard), a dinosaur that lived over 228 million years ago.

However, on further analysis, the Caseosaurus was reclassified as a subspecies of the Chindesaurus. These dinosaurs were some of the oldest dinosaurs in existence, walking the earth in the Late Triassic period

The Chindesaurus is often referred to as the ghost lizard, or the lizard from Chinde Point because of its Navajo roots. However, when it was first discovered by Bryan Small, it was nicknamed Gertie and was a very popular story in North America at the time.

The official scientific name Chindesaurus bryansmalli, however, was first coined by Long and Murry, the scientists that first described this dinosaur.

The classification and taxonomy of this dinosaur was a very long process that saw many modifications. When it was first discovered, it was originally believed to be a prosauropod because they showed many similarities.

However, Long and Murry stated that this dinosaur was a theropod with qualities similar to a herrerasaurid. Following this, Nesbitt and Irmis published a paper in 2007 stating that the Chindesaurus was a basal saurischia.

Although Nesbitt and Irmis had many supporters behind their theory, it was finally ruled that this dinosaur was a theropod Herrerasauridae. There is still no information on Piatnitzkysaurus vs Chindesaurus and researchers have started to explore.

Why are they called Chindesaurus?

The Chindesaurus was first discovered in 1984 by Bryan Small at the Chinde Point in Arizona. A holotype specimen of this species was discovered near Chinde Point and was named after it.

A holotype specimen means that only a partial skeleton was found, and not the complete skeleton. The word Chindesaurus has been derived from the Navajo word 'chiindii', meaning 'ghost' or 'spirit', and the greek word 'sauros', meaning 'lizard'. The name bryansmalli is a tribute to scientist Bryan Small.

Although only an incomplete skeleton with no skull was found, the hind legs discovered were extremely long, an unusual length for similar species. Due to their long and strong hind legs, scientists came to the conclusion that this dinosaur was bipedal and could sprint very fast.

How many specimens of Chindesaurus were discovered?

There have been a total of six specimens of the Chindesaurus discovered. The most complete fossil found was the PEFO 1395, which consisted of one tooth, back vertebrae, two hip vertebrae, a broken right femur, a complete left femur, a right tibia, and an ankle bone.

Other specimens found consisted of only a few hip bones, leg bones, and some vertebrae. These dinosaurs were some of the oldest dinosaurs in existence, walking the earth in the Late Triassic period

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 Albertadromeus facts, or Chungkingosaurus facts pages.

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

Second image by Maurissauro

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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