Fun Ostafrikasaurus Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Nov 28, 2022 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Sep 20, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Check out these amazing Ostafrikasaurus facts to know more about this dinosaur!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

Ostafrikasaurus is a genus of theropod dinosaurs, with a curious history.

This genus was formed because of only a couple of specimens of teeth from the many fossils discovered during an expedition to the Tendaguru Formation in Tanzania, previously part of German East Africa (Ostafrika in Deutsch).

While most of these teeth were assigned to some of the other genus or families of dinosaurs, a couple of them did not fit in any of the known genera.

A German paleontologist, Werner Janensch, first assigned the teeth to a theropod genus called Labrosaurus, but after Labrosaurus was considered to be a dubious group of dinosaurs, the teeth were then considered to be of another theropod dinosaur. Eventually, a French paleontologist Eric Buffetaut found the holotype tooth to be of an early spinosaurid from the Late Jurassic.

This led Buffetaut to form a new genus called Ostafrikasaurus, which consists of a single species, Ostafrikasaurus crassiserratus.

Though there are only a couple of teeth to represent the genus, a lot can be told about the animal from the size of the teeth and its denticles or the way they are serrated.

The discovery of this dinosaur was really important because it could reveal a lot about the history of spinosaurids and how they came to be.

If you want to read more interesting facts about other cool dinosaurs, check out our Austroraptor interesting facts for kids and Atrociraptor fun facts for kids pages.

Ostafrikasaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Ostafrikasaurus'?

Ostafrikasaurus can be phonetically pronounced as "Ost-af-ree-ka-sore-us".

What type of dinosaur was an Ostafrikasaurus?

This dinosaur was once considered by Werner Janensch to be similar to Allosaurus and placed in a genus called Labrosaurus. Later, it was considered by some scientists to belong to the genus Ceratosaurus.

However, after some analysis by other scientists and Eric Buffetaut, it was determined that it was an early spinosaurid and was considered to be a member of the family Spinosauridae.

It was noted that the form of the holotype tooth resembled the teeth of the spinosaurid (Baryonyx). However, no spinosaurids have been found from earlier than the Cretaceous period, which would make Ostafrikasaurus one of the first spinosaurids to have existed in the Late Jurassic period.

In which geological period did the Ostafrikasaurus roam the earth?

Ostafrikasaurus lived on Earth during the Tithonian age of the Late Jurassic. They would have existed almost 152.1-145 million years ago.

When did the Ostafrikasaurus become extinct?

The time when these dinosaurs went extinct cannot be properly evaluated. It is possible that they would have survived till the Cretaceous period and led to the evolution of spinosaurids such as Spinosaurus and Ichthyovenator, but it has not been determined as of yet due to lack of enough evidence.

Where did an Ostafrikasaurus live?

Ostafrikasaurus lived during the Late Jurassic in what is now known as Tanzania in East Africa, which was formerly known as Ostafrika in Deutsch. The remains of the teeth of this dinosaur were recovered from the Tendaguru Formation and found to be from the Late Jurassic period.

What was an Ostafrikasaurus' habitat?

This spinosaurid would have lived in a tropical or subtropical environment with plenty of rainfall.

Who did an Ostafrikasaurus live with?

Though they have been suspected to live alone or independent from others, they would have coexisted with other dinosaurs like the stegosaur Kentrosaurus, and the theropod Elaphrosaurus, which also lived during the Late Jurassic in East Africa.

How long did an Ostafrikasaurus live?

The lifespan of an Ostafrikasaurus is not currently known due to a lack of evidence and research.

How did they reproduce?

The mating process of this dinosaur is not known, though it would probably have been oviparous.

Ostafrikasaurus Fun Facts

What did an Ostafrikasaurus look like?

The appearance of this dinosaur cannot be clearly described as only the remains of its teeth have been recovered.

However, its skull and head could have been narrow with an elongated snout like other spinosaurid dinosaurs that lived after the Jurassic period ended.

It could have also had a sail on its back like many other members of the same family. The form of the holotype tooth itself was unlike other spinosaurids as it was broad at the base, and measured 1.8 in (4.6 cm) in length, with denticles on the serrated cutting edges of the tooth.

These denticles were not found on spinosaurid dinosaurs that came later, which led Eric Buffetaut to suggest that the number of denticles or serrations on the teeth of spinosaurids reduced with their evolution.

An Ostafrikasaurus is only known from its fossil teeth, which were serrated and broad at the base.
*Please note that this is an image of the Baryonyx, a dinosaur considered similar to the Ostafrikasaurus. If you have an image of the Ostafrikasaurus, please let us know at

How many bones did an Ostafrikasaurus have?

The number of bones in the body of an Ostafrikasaurus cannot be known at this point as only a couple of their teeth have been discovered so far.

How did they communicate?

There is no way to know how these animals communicated with each other, but they may have used a combination of their voices and body language for communicating.

How big was an Ostafrikasaurus?

Though not many remains have been found of this dinosaur, some paleontologists were able to give a rough estimate of its size and believed that its body length would have been 28 ft (8.4 m), and their height would have been 6.9 ft (2.1 m).

How fast could an Ostafrikasaurus move?

The speed with which this dinosaur used to move has not been quantified yet.

How much did an Ostafrikasaurus weigh?

Their weight has been estimated at 1.27 short tons (1.13 long tons).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There were no special names for the male and female dinosaurs.

What would you call a baby Ostafrikasaurus?

A baby Ostfrikasaurus would have been called a hatchling.

What did they eat?

The diet of this animal is thought to have been carnivorous, which consisted of fish and other dinosaurs. Buffetaut noted that the serrations on the teeth of the Ostafrikasaurus were not present on those of later spinosaurids.

This led him to suggest that the teeth of spinosaurids became less serrated as they moved to a diet composed mostly of fish. The sensory features on their snout that helped them in detecting fish in the water may also have evolved later.

How aggressive were they?

This dinosaur could have been fairly aggressive, given the large holotype tooth and the assumptions that later spinosaurids would also have been aggressive towards any creature that invaded their territory.

Did you know...

Since these dinosaurs lived during the Late Jurassic, there is a high chance that they would have been found worldwide before the Pangaea had broken up into the different continents as we know them today. This early distribution of Ostafrikasaurus would explain the somewhat wide range of spinosaurids that lived during the Cretaceous period, around 139-93 million years ago.

How was the Ostafrikasaurus discovered?

Ostafrikasaurus can be considered one of the most interesting dinosaurs of all time due to the exciting history behind its classification and discovery.

From 1909-1912, one of the largest expeditions in paleontological history took place, which was arranged by the Natural History Museum of Berlin to the Tendaguru Formation in Tanzania.

Tanzania was previously a part of the region called Ostafrika during the time of the German colonial empire. In this expedition, many fossils were discovered, along with some teeth from the Jurassic period that did not seem to belong to any known genera.

At first, the holotype tooth was put into a couple of different genera, Labrosaurus and Ceratosaurus, before being considered a member of the family Spinosauridae, due to the similarity of the holotype tooth with that of a Baryonyx.

Naming the Ostafrikasaurus

After being assigned to a few different families, in 2012, Eric Buffetaut named a new genus after this dinosaur and called it Ostafrikasaurus, and the species Ostafrikasaurus crassiserratus. The genus name was derived from Deutsch and refers to the region the holotype tooth was found in, that is, Ostafrika, meaning German East Africa, during the German colonial empire.

The species name was derived from Latin and means "thick serrated" referencing the form of the holotype tooth.

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 Heterodontosaurus facts and Sauropelta facts for kids.

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

Image one by - PaleoGeekSquared

Image two by - Nobu Tamura

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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