Fun Dryptosaurus Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Mar 04, 2024 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Oct 25, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
One of the interesting Dryptosaurus facts is that they used to live during the Cretaceous period.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min



The genus name Dryptosaurus of Dryptosaurus aquilunguis means 'tearing lizard' and is derived from the Greek words 'drypto' meaning 'I tear' and 'sauros' meaning 'lizard'. The specific name aquilunguis is derived from the Latin for 'having claws as an eagle has' referring to the claws on its three-fingered hand.

In 1866, E. D. Cope who is famous in the field of paleontology, published a paper on this specimen within a week of its discovery and named it Laelaps aquilunguis dinosaur at a meeting of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

The name 'Laelaps' which is derived from the Greek for 'hurricane' or 'storm wind' was also the name of a dog in Greek mythology that never failed to catch its prey.

The name Laelaps gained popularity as both a poetic and evocative name and became one of the first dinosaurs described from New Jersey, North America, following Hadrosaurus and Trachodon.

The type species is Dryptosaurus aquilunguis. They are believed to be a transitional species in natural history with unique features discovered that helped them cope with the challenges of marsh and forest areas originally inhabited by them.

For more relatable content, check out these Ichthyovenator facts and Bambiraptor facts for kids.

Dryptosaurus Facts

How do you pronounce 'Dryptosaurus '?

The name of this aquilunguis dinosaur, genus Dryptosaurus is pronounced 'Drip-toe-sore-us,' also called Dryptosaurus aquilunguis (Dinosauria Theropoda).

What type of dinosaur was a Dryptosaurus?

The Dryptosaurus aquilunguis dinosaur, Dryptosaurus, is of tyrannosauroid genus that inhabited the ancient earth approximately 67 million years ago during the latter part of the Cretaceous period, currently New Jersey. Dryptosaurus dinosaurs have been confirmed to possess an amalgamation of archaic traits prevalent in early tyrannosauroids and specialized characteristics.

Dryptosaurus type species represents an ancient lineage rooted and developed from the eastern part of North America.

It is said to have a unique evolutionary trajectory due to a warm inland sea's aquatic barrier between western and eastern parts of the country.

If there is a connection between Dryptosaurus and Appalachiosaurus due to the tyrannosauroid subgroup, this is presently unknown. Dryptosaurus dinosaurs can fit a description of a transitional species between tyrannosaurs like Dilong and the more robust tyrannosaurs like theropods.

In which geological period did the dinosaur Dryptosaurus roam the Earth?

Dryptosaurus tyrannosaurids lived approximately 67 million years ago during the latter part, i.e., Maastrichtian stage of the Cretaceous period and before the Late Cretaceous time, in what is now New Jersey.

When did the Dryptosaurus become extinct?

The fossils found exhibit pieces of evidence that Dryptosaurus went extinct 66 million years ago.

Where did a Dryptosaurus live?

While the aquatic barrier has already been deduced to create differences in the evolution of Dryptosaurus, we know that the habitats have to be in proximity to where the food is readily available.

Not much has been available in particular about the group, but they seemed to have lived in areas such as forests, near oceans, and grasslands with water in the vicinity.

However, the areas near New Jersey and New Egypt Formation no longer possess much evidence of the primitive environment due to extensive human settlements.

What was a Dryptosaurus's habitat?

Brusatte elaborates that the Dryptosaurus holotype was discovered originally in 1866 in places with marl and sandstone. This place is currently known as New Egypt Formation.

The New Egypt Formation is a marine unit Crosswicks Creek (11.5 yd (10.5 m) thick at the north) but thins to the south considerably at the Dryptosaurus fossil sources. The New Egypt Formation happens to be a deeper-water equivalent of the Tinton and Red Bank formations. These east areas in North America hold the Dryptosaurus skeleton in parts.

Who did a Dryptosaurus live with?

Only limited data about the Dryptosaurus' environment is available since the eastern coast of the United States is more urbanized, and only limited fossils can be excavated.

Fossils of armored dinosaurs, duck-billed dinosaurs, and crocodilians have been unearthed. Dryptosaurus are expected to haven taken advantage of the coastal region and resources for food like beached fish and other marine creatures, especially turtles, available at the shore while laying eggs.

Therefore, it can be deduced that the dinosaur Dryptosaurus preferred the company of coastal species that could help them to survive.

How long did a Dryptosaurus live?

These dinosaurs are believed to have lived during the Cretaceous period. They lived for a considerable time, all amounting to before 66 million years ago. Marsh, forests, and grasslands are believed to have been the preferred habitat for this family of dinosaurs.

How did they reproduce?

Laelaps, the tyrannosauroid type species, is believed to be oviparous. This means that they are believed to have reproduced by laying eggs.

Dryptosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Dryptosaurus look like?

Also known as the Laelaps aquilunguis, the Dryptosaurus was a large, bipedal carnivore, terrestrial in nature, as suggested by the review of its tyrannosauroid origin. This is based on the unearthing of a partial skeleton in the New Jersey area.

It had long arms like Eotyrannus, compared to tyrannosaurs from the Late Cretaceous period. 'Famous Affinities American Museum Novitates', the paleontology journal, shows remains of the species whose features were explained by paleontologists Stephen Brusatte, Roger Benson, and Mark Norell.

Its hands were believed to have had three fingers and were also relatively large. Brusatte et al.

(2011) observed an overall similarity in the shape of the available phalanges of Dryptosaurus with those of derived tyrannosaurids. Justifying the title of the tearing lizard, each of its fingers was tipped by an 8 in (20.3 cm), eagle-like claw.

Its forelimb morphology suggests that forelimb reduction in tyrannosauroids may not have proceeded in a uniform fashion. Dryptosaurus may have used both its fingers and jaws as weapons when hunting, capturing, and processing prey.

Dryptosaurus was a large and bipedal carnivore.

How many bones did a Dryptosaurus have?

Remains of a partial skeleton found include a fragmentary skull and lower jaw (mandible) ‬and postcranial partially.

Parts of the limbs,‭ ‬hips, and vertebrae of the species' skeleton help us better understand Dryptosaurus aquilunguis's anatomy.

ANSP 9995 is a right maxilla, right dentary, right surangular, lateral teeth, 11 middle-distal caudal vertebrae, both the left and right humeri, three manual phalanges from the left hand (I-1, II-2, and an ungual), the shafts of the left and right pubic bones, right ischium, the left femur, the left tibia, the left astragalus, the left fibula, and a midshaft metatarsal are the fragmentary remains of Dryptosaurus bipedal dinosaurs tyrannosaur' skeleton.

AMNH FARB 2438 consists of left metatarsal IV bones, which are likely from the same individual as the holotype found during the search.

How did they communicate?

It is unknown how exactly Dryptosauridae bipedal dinosaurs communicated with each other or the dinosaurs of different species. It is believed that dinosaurs used to communicate by hissing, clapping their jaws together, grinding mandibles against upper jaws, rubbing scales together, and by the use of environmental materials like splashing against water.

It is also believed that tyrannosauroid dinosaurs communicated vocally and visually. These two modes of communication would have been used during defensive posturing, courtship behavior, and territory fights.

How big was a Dryptosaurus?

Dyptosaurus aquilunguis (Dinosauria Theropoda clade) is expected to have been 24.6 ft (7.5 m) long and 6 ft (1.8 m) tall at the hips, having larger arms than the counterparts from the Late Cretaceous period and a well-developed claw.

How fast could a Dryptosaurus move?

The Dryptosaurus was large, bipedal tyrannosauroids, terrestrial carnivore, also called leaping Laelaps.

How much did a Dryptosaurus weigh?

The Cretaceous Laelaps aquilunguis weight is based on the classification of the fossil collected. It is estimated these dinosaurs weighed 3,307 lb (1,500 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

Female and male Dryptosaurus dinosaurs are not given any different names.

What would you call a baby Dryptosaurus?

Since Dryptosauridae reproduced by laying eggs and the new ones were born when the eggs hatched, a baby Dryptosaur can be called hatchling or nestling. This generalized term can be used for all dinosaurs since they all hatched from eggs.

In the case of theropods, dinosaurs that resemble birds, a baby theropod can also be referred to as a chick.

What did they eat?

Dryptosaurus was a carnivore (Theropoda, i.e., flesh-eating), preying with its teeth and tearing the marine wildlife available in its vicinity with its claws. The scarcity of evidence known from Cretaceous East Coast dinosaurs makes it difficult to derive the specific diet of the animal.

Hadrosaurids are known from the same time and placed in comparison to Dryptosaurus dinosaur specimens. Hadrosaurid dinosaurs may have been a part of their diet.

How aggressive were they?

Since the Dryptosaurus was predatory in nature, it would be safe to assume that they would have been aggressive in nature to survive in the wild habitat.

Did you know...

Laelaps trihedrodon was coined by Cope (1877) for a partial dentary (now missing). Five damaged partial tooth crowns (AMNH 5780), originally thought to have belonged to L. trihedrodon, are now believed to belong to Allosaurus.

Teeth are one of the features that are primitive to theropods to help them cope with their feeding habits. Partial hind limb found in a fragmentary fossil in the Navesink Formation caused Cope to name them Laelaps macropus. In 2017, it was given the new generic name Teihivenator or the strong hunting lizard.

Where was the Dryptosaurus found?

Edward Drinker Cope, 1866 was the first to grant to history a new set of tyrannosaurs after their discovery which Othniel C. Marsh later renamed in 1877. The Dryptosaurus specimen is among one of the first theropod fossils known to science.

Was Dryptosaurus bipedal?

Bipedalism features the ability of terrestrial locomotion with the help of rear limbs. As suggested earlier, the tearing lizard used its three fingers and developed claws to mainly hunt. Therefore, it is believed this dinosaur show bipedalism as it confirmed by Dryptosaurus fossils.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Atlantosaurus interesting facts and Anserimimus surprising facts pages.

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

Main image by Josep Asensi

Second image by Lev Lazinskiy

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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