Fun Cryolophosaurus Facts For Kids

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 20, 2022 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Oct 04, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Read these amazing Cryolophosaurus facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.9 Min

Dinosaurs were a diverse group of reptiles that lived in almost all parts of the world, some 66-245 million years ago. However, they are not entirely extinct.

The next time somebody says dinosaurs are extinct feel free to correct them as modern day birds are nothing but modified versions of dinosaurs because of evolution. They have always been fascinating creatures that have been a mystery for several years now.

Cryolophosaurus was one such fascinating early theropod from Antarctica, belonging to the Dinosauria clade.

It was one of the first few dinosaurs to be discovered in a place like Antarctica where no one thought dinosaurs existed. The remains were first discovered in a rock formation by David Elliot hence the name Cryolophosaurus ellioti was given to honor him.

This dinosaur is also noted as cold crest lizard and Elvisaurus. The initial discoverers who found the Cryolophosaurus fossil material gave this name as the crest on the skull resembled the hairstyle of the famous rock singer Elvis Presley.

Allusoroids and Cryolophasaurus had a lot of skull dissimilarities which gave them a basal position in the Theropoda family.

The only specimen of this dinosaur is the c.ellioti which is known as a partially incomplete skeleton. This was a meat eating dinosaur that loved hunting other dinosaurs.

The evolution of the first species of dinosaurs occurred only 40 million years before the emergence of this dinosaur. Did you know a cast of c ellioti is found at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL?

To know more about their evolution and facts keep reading and do check out our other articles on Ostafrikasaurus and Atrociraptor.

Cryolophosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Cryolophosaurus'?

The fossils of Cryolophosaurus were discovered in Antarctica and were named by William J Hickerson and William R Hammer in the year 1991. It is also known as a cold or frozen crested lizard and is pronounced as cry-o-loaf-oh-sore-us.

What type of dinosaur was a Cryolophosaurus?

Cryolophosaurus, also noted as Elvisaurus was one of the crested theropods that belonged to the Carnosauria family and Dinosauria clade. These dinosaurs were the second species and the first theropod to be discovered in Antarctica (south pole). Theropods were a group of Saurischian Dinosaurs.

The earliest and most primitive theropod dinosaurs were carnivorous. Carnosauria was a huge group of carnivorous dinosaurs that existed during the Jurassic and Cretaceous epochs. Fossil data suggests that their first appearance was approximately 176 million years ago, during the Middle Jurassic period.

In which geological period did the Cryolophosaurus roam the earth?

Cryolophosaurus roamed the earth during the early Jurassic period. It was the second-longest epoch of the three geologic periods Mesozoic Era which lasted for around 50 million years.

During this period the one whole continent, Pangaea split up. This period was named after the Jura Mountains, which is on the border between France and Switzerland. This period had the most abundant lives with lush vegetation and a warm wet climate.

When did the Cryolophosaurus become extinct?

Cryolophosaurus became extinct after the Jurassic era. It might have become extinct during the Triassic Jurassic extinction. The extinction was caused by huge, unmanageable volcanic eruptions that were widespread. This led to an increase in the atmosphere's carbon dioxide level which wiped almost 75 -80 percent of the life on this planet.

Where did Cryolophosaurus live?

The fossil material of this dinosaur was discovered in the Hanson formation of Transantarctic mountains in the continent of Antarctica (south pole) during the Early Jurassic era. The discovery was made by Hammer, a professor at Augustana.

What was the Cryolophosaurus' habitat?

Contrary to belief Antarctica was not cold during the Jurassic period the continent was much closer to the equator and rather was rather warm. They probably occupied forest regions and woodlands.

Who did Cryolophosaurus live with?

For the most part, it led a solitary life. However when in crisis or any danger it formed a group. The group consisted of three to four members and not more than that.

How long did a Cryolophosaurus live?

Cryolophosaurus existed in Antarctica during the early Jurassic era around 190 million years ago. These dinosaurs had a maximum lifetime of 20 years.

How did they reproduce?

 Cryolophosaururs was oviparous and reproduces by laying eggs.

Cryolophosaurus Fun Facts

What did Cryolophosaurus look like?

The skull of Cryolophosaurus was 26 in (65 cm ) and was narrow and high. The nasal crest was small and curled upwards.

Its eyes were not faced forward due to which it had poor binocular vision. It had sharp teeth that were like saw edged blades, perfect for tearing meat. It had peculiar skull ornamentation which included the crest.

The crest was a forward facing fan like structure protruding from the skull. This was known as a pompadour crest.

Pompadour is a hairstyle named after Madame de Pompadour of France. It mostly would have been brightly colored. The arms and legs were slender with the leg bone similar to that of the early theropods.

The nasal crest was right above the eye and the horns were on either side of the eyesockets. Due to the presence of tendons on the end of the tail which turned into a solid bone as it aged, their tail was stiff.

Cryolophosaurus has a unique crest.

How many bones did a Cryolophosaurus have?

Computing the precise number of bones based on the fossils is always not possible.

This is because not all of the bones are excavated and the skeleton has to undergo reconstructions.

While excavating the remains of Cryolophosaurus in the Hanson formation, Hammer and team recovered around 100 bones including an incomplete skull and mandibles, nine maxillary teeth, a fragmentary sixth cervical centrum, 7-10 cervical vertebrae, several posterior cervical rib bones, several anterior dorsal vertebrae, most of the mid and posterior dorsal vertebrae, several dorsal rib bones, three chevrons (bony arch of the tail vertebrae) many partial and complete caudal vertebrae, two partial upper bone of the arm, a proximal ulna, a partial ilium, a proximal pubis, both ischia, but only one distal, two incomplete femora, the distal end of a tibia, the distal end of a fibula, and the astragalus and calcaneum (foot bone).

How did they communicate?

The colorful crests were merely ornamental which would have been used for visual communication, mainly to attract opposite sexes. The crests were not only used for this but also for show off battles between rivals, they preferred this rather than fighting.

Other forms of communication might have been similar to other dinosaurs like high pitched rawrs. This sound is compared to the sound of a yelling man. They probably used other body gestures to communicate.

How big was the Cryolophosaurus?

Cryolophosaurus ellioti was a huge bipedal theropod whose length from head to tail was 21-26 ft (6.5-8 m). The height at the hips was 6 ft (2 m).

Smith Hammer and Benson remarked that the holotype specimen was most likely a sub adult. This implies that the adults might have been bigger. It is three times the length of Coelophysis, a Theropoda member.

How fast could a Cryolophosaurus move?

Their movements were quite similar to that of a T.Rex. The long and slender legs indicate that they might have been fast runners.

The skull was not that big either. The only thing interfering with the fast movements must have been the poor binocular vision, which would have caused great troubles in long distance vision. However, scientists have concluded that this crested dinosaur was quite fast over short distances.

How much did a Cryolophosaurus weigh?

Based on the fossil material Cryolophpsurus weighed around 1025-1720 lb (465-780 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There is no strong evidence indicating sexual dimorphism. Hence there were no male and female names. They were, as a whole known as Cryolophosaurus.

What would you call a baby Cryolophosaurus?

The Cryolophosaurus baby did not have any special names either. Just like regular dinosaur babies they were called chicks, nestlings, hatchlings, or juveniles.

What did they eat?

They were meat eating animals. There is a lot of controversies regarding what they ate.

Some of the major assumptions based on the bones found from the fossils are that this crested dinosaur consumed other dinosaurs mainly Glacialisaurus, a sauropodomorph dinosaur. Remains of Triodolant , a mammal relative was also found. Apart from this, scientists suspect scavenging behavior as a tooth of the own species was found within a Cryolophosaurus.

How aggressive were they?

It was an apex predator and a meat-eating theropod that hunted other dinosaurs, which were the same size as them. This might have required a great deal of aggression. Usually, the skin of dinosaurs is thick and hard to tear. The blade like teeth were perfect for this which indicates they were quite violent.

Did you know...

A study done by Currie and smith revealed that Cryolophosaurus dinosaurs were similar to other theropods like Dilophosaurus and Dracovenator. But Matthew Carrano discovered in 2012 that Cryolophosaurus was a basal tetanuran, closely related to Spinosaurus but not related to Dilophosaurus

The Cryolophosaurus skull scans revealed that it had a small brain.

The head crest is furrowed giving it a lifted blade appearance.

The head crests of any other theropod have been backward. The only one to have it bent forward is the Cryolophosaurus.

Cryolophosaurus ellioti is the most complete dinosaur specimen obtained in Antarctica.

The frozen crest lizard shows a mixture of both primitive and advanced theropod features.

Why are they called Cryolophosaurus?

Hammer and Hickerson named Cryolophosaurus ellioti in the year 1994. Its name was derived from Greek words.

The name Cryolophosaurus means frozen or cold crest lizard. It is called so as its remains were discovered in Antarctica in the south pole which is a cold place and it had noticeable crests. The species name was given to honor the paleontologist who initially made the discovery of the fossil, David Elliot.

How many teeth does a Cryolophosaurus have?

During the discovery in Antarctica, nine maxillary tooth remains were found. The exact number of teeth is not known.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Incisivosaurus facts and Austroraptor facts pages.

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

Cryolophosaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Dinosaurs (Glacialisaurus)

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?

Bright colored

How Much Did They Weigh?

1025-1720 lbs (465-780 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

21-26 ft (6.5-8 m)

How Tall Were They?

At the hips: 6 ft (2 m)









Scientific Name

Type species: C ellioti

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?


Where Did They Live?

Hanson Formation, Transantarctic Mountains, and Antarctica (Early Jurassic era)
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

Read full bio >