Fun Sanjuansaurus Facts For Kids

Tanya Parkhi
Nov 29, 2022 By Tanya Parkhi
Originally Published on Sep 30, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Here are some great Sanjuansaurus facts that you are sure to love!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.3 Min

The Sanjuansaurus (Sanjuansaurus gordilloi) was a type of herrerasaurid dinosaur which lived in Northwestern Argentina during the Late Triassic (Upper Triassic) period.

It was a medium dinosaur, carnivorous in nature and bipedal like other herrerasaurids. Sanjuansaurus literally means San Juan lizard, and this species was named after the province of San Juan, where it was discovered, as well as in honor of Raul Gordillo, the head fossil preparator of the San Juan Museum.

This dinosaur was first discovered in 1994 in the Ischigualasto Formation in San Juan in Northwestern Argentina, in the Cancha de Bochas and La Peña Members.

To learn more about this roar-some reptile, read on! For more relatable content, check out these Pedopenna facts and Plateosaurus facts for kids.

Sanjuansaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Sanjuansaurus'?

Sanjuansaurus can be pronounced as 'San-whan-sore-us.'

What type of dinosaur was a Sanjuansaurus?

The Sanjuansaurus gordilloi classification can be that it is a type of carnivorous herrerasaurus dinosaur, which was similar to its more well-known relative, the Herrerasaurus.

In which geological period did the Sanjuansaurus roam the Earth?

Dinosaurs of the Sanjuansaurus genus existed on our planet during the Upper Triassic (Late Triassic) period, which took place from around 200-235 Million years ago.

When did the Sanjuansaurus become extinct?

The Sanjuansaurus most likely died towards the end of the Upper Triassic (Late Triassic) period, which ended around 200 million years ago.

Where did a Sanjuansaurus live?

The Sanjuansaurus lived in the San Juan province of what is now northwestern Argentina, in the continent of South America.

What was a Sanjuansaurus' habitat?

The Sanjuansaurus's remains were found in the Cancha de Bochas and La Peña Members of the Ischigualasto Formation, a rocky, hilly formation consisting of tuff, sandstone, mudstone, and conglomerate. It was most likely formed due to flooding and heavy rainfall shaping the round hills.

Who did a Sanjuansaurus live with?

The Sanjuansaurus genus dinosaurs, like most other dinosaurs, mostly lived in packs. There are high chances of dinosaurs living and feeding together in groups, and this theory has been developed due to the discovery of a number of fossilized trackways containing a sequence of dinosaur footprints, all suggesting the presence of dinosaurs traveling in groups.

How long did a Sanjuansaurus live?

Though the exact lifespan of a dinosaur cannot be determined, it has been estimated that they lived quite long lives, akin to those of similar reptiles like crocodiles and turtles. Due to their slow metabolisms, these beasts have been estimated to live between 80-300 years.

How did they reproduce?

Sanjuansaurus dinosaurs' classification was oviparous and reproduced by laying eggs. Their mating process was mostly similar to that of modern-day reptiles, with internal fertilization taking place inside the female's body.

Sanjuansaurus Fun Facts

What did a Sanjuansaurus look like?

The Sanjuansaurus genus dinosaur's features looked similar to other herrerasaurus dinosaurs, being medium-sized in length. It was bipedal and had shorter, thinner forelegs with strong, thick hind limbs.

Its jaw features were most likely powerful and had sharp teeth due to its carnivorous nature. It was quite slender, with a short neck and long, tapering tail. Like other dinosaurs' features, it had tough, scaly skin.

The comparison of the Sanjuansaurus with an average-sized human.

How many bones did a Sanjuansaurus have?

Though the exact number of bones this coelurosaurian dinosaur had has not been determined, the discovery of a partial skeleton containing jaw, leg, pelvis, tail, vertebrae, including the anterior tail and scapula bones, was made in 1994. The column of vertebrae was almost complete, and a few other bone fragments were also collected.

The number of bones possessed by the average dinosaur has been worked out to be around 200; hence the Sanjuansaurus dinosaur features most probably had around 200 bones.

How did they communicate?

Dinosaurs are known for their loud, earth-shaking roars which are mostly how this dinosaur communicated. They mostly used bellowing roars, grunts of low rumbling noises to communicate in order to mate or chase away other dinosaurs from their territories. Visual displays were also probably used, with raising of the front legs, stomping, and tail whipping involved.

How big was a Sanjuansaurus?

The Sanjuansaurus size is said to have been around 9.8-20 ft (3-6.1 m) in length.

How fast could a Sanjuansaurus move?

Though the exact speed of these herrerasaurids could not be estimated, due to them being bipedal in nature, we can estimate that their speed varied from 2.5-3.7 mph (4-6 kph) while walking and could have ranged anywhere from 23-54.7 mph (37-88 kph) while running.

How much did a Sanjuansaurus weigh?

The Sanjuansaurus has been estimated to have weighed 770 lbs (350 kg), around the same size as a medium Herrerasaurus.

What were the male and female names of the species?

A male dinosaur has been termed a saurus whereas the female dinosaur is known as saura. We do not make any distinction in sex while referring to dinosaurs, though.

What would you call a baby Sanjuansaurus?

Baby Sanjuansaurus dinosaurs were known as hatchlings.

What did they eat?

Being carnivorous in nature, these dinosaurs most likely hunted down and ate smaller dinosaurs, other terrestrial creatures, eggs, and fish.

How aggressive were they?

Due to their carnivorous natures, these dinosaurs of the Herrerasauridae family were probably quite aggressive. They would have had to hunt and chase their prey down, which would have involved baring their sharp teeth and baring their claws.

Despite being predators, there is a high chance that they were still hunted down by predatory dinosaurs of larger size, such as various bigger theropods and velociraptors, which meant that they had to stay on their guard and be aggressive towards any probable intruders on their territory.

Did you know...

Though the San Juan lizard was similar to the Herrerasaurus in appearance, its bone structure pointed to it being a bit more primitive compared to the latter. These dinosaurs belong to the same family of medium-sized carnivorous dinosaurs - Herrerasauridae.

The thigh bone of the Sanjuansaurus was found to be 15.6 in (39.5 cm) long, and a tibia was found to measure 14.2 in (36 cm) in length.

How did the Sanjuansaurus get its name?

The fossil of the Sanjuansaurus, meaning the San Juan lizard, was unearthed near the base of the Ischigualasto Formation in Ischigualasto Provincial Park in San Juan, Argentina. It was named Sanjuansaurus Gordillo after the San Juan province and in honor of Raul Gordillo, head fossil preparator and artist of the San Juan Museum.

What type of Sanjuansaurus bones has been discovered?

The discovery of the prototype Sanjuansaurus fossil was made in 1994, in the sandstone of the Cancha de Bocas Member near the base of the Ischigualasto Formation, in Ischigualasto Provincial Park in San Juan, Argentina.

The bones discovered were a fractured skull, vertebrae consisting of most of the vertebral column and anterior tail, scapula, forearm, part of the pelvis, and a few long leg bones.

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 Paralititan facts or Claosaurus facts for kids.

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


Both images by Nobu Tamura.

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Written by Tanya Parkhi

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya Parkhi picture

Tanya ParkhiBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.

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