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Fun Saurophaganax Facts For Kids

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The Saurophaganax dinosaur was the largest carnivorous theropod of the Late Jurassic to have lived in North America lived about 155-150 million years ago. Independent in their genus, these dinosaurs are considered to be a new species of Allosaurus by many paleontologists. The fossil remains of these heavy carnivore species were discovered in the Morrison Formation of Oklahoma, the United States of America, by John Willis Stovall in 1931. The fossil material consisted of a femur, a hip bone, several vertebrates. 10 years later, it was named Saurophagus maximus by an article written by Grace Ernest Ray in 1941 but the name was taken down once it was found out that a bird shared the same name. Hence, since a new name was required for these big dinosaurs, Daniel Chure gave the name 'Saurophagus maximus' as Saurophaganax and the name has stuck ever since. Chure, however, was not considered to be a renaming of the species. The general name was acquired from the Greek dialect where 'Saurophaganax' literally meant 'lizard eating master' or 'king of lizard eaters'! Some fossil specimens of cranial remains have been found in New Mexico as well. This meat-eating dinosaur was gigantic for an allosaurus and at times, these predators would steal the prey of less powerful predators. Its diet would consist of small sauropods, theropods, and other herbivorous dinosaurs. As they are a genus of theropod dinosaurs, Saurophaganax would have walked around in a semi-arid ecosystem or habitat with only two limbs and could have often been in the semi-crouched position as a result. Being the official state fossil of Oklahoma, Saurophaganax differed from its relative allosaurus with its differently shaped vertebrae. Research claims that there isn't sufficient fossil material to establish whether or not the only difference between the Saurophaganax maximus and Allosaurus was the vertebrae. The discovery of this fierce-looking large eater from the Morrison Formation of Oklahoma and other parts of New Mexico portrayed some distinct characteristics. Although they looked super large in size, they were quite light in weight justifying the swift Saurophaganax speed. They had a number of sharp teeth and heavily clawed limbs which would have made it easy in obtaining prey. Living in the Late Jurassic period in present-day North America, they would have shared their habitat with other dinosaur species of their time like Ceratosaurus, Torvosaurus, and Stokesosaurus which were also quite wild and deadly in nature. The complete skeleton of the 'king of lizard eaters' now exists in the Jurassic Hall in the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

If you'd like to discover more interesting facts on similar dinosaurs, check out our Chungkingosaurus fun facts or Caviramus interesting facts for kids that you're sure to love!

Fun Saurophaganax Facts For Kids


What did they prey on?

Fish, birds, smaller dinosaurs

What did they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

2-3 eggs

How much did they weigh?

6000-9200 lb (3,000-4,500 kg)

How long were they?

397.7-511.8 in (10-13 m)

How tall were they?

157.4 in (4 m)


What did they look like?

Scaly

Skin Type

Scales

What were their main threats?

Natural disasters

Where were they found?

Grass plains and woodlands

Locations

North America

Kingdom

Animalia

Genus

Saurophaganax

Class

Reptilia

Family

Allosauridae

Scientific Name

N/A


How scary were they?

3

How loud were they?

3

How intelligent were they?

4

Saurophaganax Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Saurophaganax'?

The name of this dinosaur from the Morrison formation of Oklahoma is pronounced as 'sore-oh-fag-ah-nax'. This dinosaur contains the disarticulated bones of four specimens till today. The fossils were discovered by John Willis Stovall in the year 1931 and 10 years later, the dinosaur was named Saurophagus maximus.

What type of dinosaur was a Saurophaganax?

Saurophaganax maximus was a type of theropod that lived about 155-150 million years ago in the Late Jurassic of North America. Some scientists say that they may have been just a very large species of Allosaurus while others refute this by saying they might just be closely related to Allosaurs.

In which geological period did the Saurophaganax roam the Earth?

The Saurophaganax maximus roamed the earth during the Late Jurassic period. As their fossils were discovered in the Morrison Formation of Oklahoma, these large species were believed to have lived in a range that was terrestrial.

When did the Saurophaganax become extinct?

This giant and fierce carnivore became extinct about 65 million years ago, like all other species of dinosaurs. The reasons for their extinction are not known precisely but factors such as natural disasters, earthquakes, and volcanoes could have played a big role.

Where did a Saurophaganax live?

The Saurophaganax maximus was a terrestrial animal and so lived in terrestrial habitats in modern-day North America, as this is where their fossils were found.

What was a Saurophaganax's habitat?

These species lived in a habitat that was semi-arid, considering the place where their fossils were found. They were known to make their homes in woodlands, grasslands, and forests. They were also believed to have shared their habitats with other dinosaurs like Torvosaurus, Ceratosaurus, and Stokesosaurus.

Who did a Saurophaganax live with?

It is not known in detail whether this gigantic meat-eater was a social creature or not. Considering its wild nature and big body, it is believed that these animals might have still come together as small groups for the purpose of mating or preying on smaller animals.

How long did a Saurophaganax live?

Like all Dinosauria, this predator that was known to roam Late Jurassic North America lived for about 28 years, considering the fact they were also a genus of Allosaurus.

How did they reproduce?

Scientists are still trying to study how this species of dinosaur reproduced. Many paleontologists have declared that they are oviparous, meaning that they laid reproduced by laying eggs. Again, not much information is known about the parental care given by the females of this species but what the juveniles were believed to have become independent at an early age.

Saurophaganax Fun Facts

What did a Saurophaganax look like?

The difference between an Allosaurus and the Saurophaganax was their differently structured vertebrate.

The discovery of the fossils and bones of these predators was first made in the Morrison Formation by John Willis Stovall in 1931 and the name Saurophagus maximus. There was no scientific description for Stovall's Saurophagus. It was renamed 'Saurophaganax maximus' after 10 years when it was found out that another bird shared its previous name. It was huge in size, almost massive in size. Since they were considered to be a genus of Allosaurus, many paleontologists concluded that they might have been a new species of Allosaurus. Again, some refute this theory by stating that they might have been an independent genus. They had many interesting characteristics that made them quite unique. Having a large body, they were bipedal meaning that they walked on two limbs that had very sharp and thick claws. Known to have appeared late in their time, the Saurophaganax maximus had short forelimbs, strong legs, and a big head. The Saurophaganax skull was long and large with spikes or knobs along the top. The tail was believed to be heavy as well which caused it to thump loudly against the ground. Some of their fossil material has also been located in New Mexico recently.

How many bones did a Saurophaganax have?

Very little is known about the number of bones these dinosaurs with a carnivorous diet would have had but these large predators would have had over 2oo bones for sure! The fossil remains found were a hip bone, several tail vertebrae, and a femur or thigh bone. You can find the complete Saurophaganax skeleton at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in the United States of America.

How did they communicate?

The Saurophaganax species, which was renamed by Daniel Chure after studying the fossil material in detail, would have communicated with each other in the same way as another dinosaur did. The Saurophaganax sounds were really loud, probably roaring and growling at each other either for competition over food or habitat.

How big was a Saurophaganax?

The Saurophaganax size was huge! The body of the 'king of lizard eaters was about 397.7-511.8 in (10-13 m) in length and 157.4 in (4 m) in height. They were as tall as elephants, maybe even slightly more, and were ten times shorter than a blue whale! They could have even been longer than a T-Rex!

How fast could a Saurophaganax move?

Assumed to be closely related to an Allosaurus, the speed at which these species moved is not known accurately. Nonetheless, this meat-eater was believed to have moved at a speed that was very similar to that of a giant panda bear!

How much did a Saurophaganax weigh?

The Saurophaganax weighed about 6000-9200 lb (3,000-4,500 kg). Their size was the equivalent of two hippos together!

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific male or female names for this species.

What would you call a baby Saurophaganax?

A baby Saurophaganax is called a hatchling or nestling. They were believed to have become independent at an early age.

What did they eat?

The Saurophaganax maximus had a carnivorous diet. Hence, their food consisted of a lot of meat. It was noted that since it had a large body, there would have been a need for large amounts of food. This could have proved the assumption that this fierce predator often took or rather, scavenged the food or prey of other animals. The name of this predator comes from its eating habits.

How aggressive were they?

These predators were wild and they would have definitely been aggressive towards other dinosaurs too! With physical characteristics adding to their deadliness, they were known to be the 'greatest predators in the history of the world', even surpassing the T-Rex!

Did you know...

What makes the Saurophaganax so interesting is that some paleontologists believe that it might have just been another gigantic allosaur. This would have meant that the Allosaurus dinosaur would have just appeared or lived long enough in the Late Jurassic period, growing to a very large size.

What dinosaurs did the Saurophaganax fight?

The Saurophaganax was believed to have fought dinosaurs like the T-Rex, Ceratosaurus, Torvosaurus, and Stokesosaurus.

Is Saurophaganax bigger than the T-Rex?

This massive and fierce predator was bigger than an Allosaurus, making some scientists study it as a new genus of said species. However, the Saurophaganax size comparison to a T-Rex is only greater in length but not in height and was also considered to be much more deadly than the T-Rex.

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 Sauropelta fun facts, or Xenotarsosaurus facts for kids that you're sure to love!

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

Written By
Kidadl Team

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