Fun Gnathovorax Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Oct 20, 2022 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Sep 24, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Read these amazing Gnathovorax facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.1 Min

Herrersauridae is one of the oldest groups of predatory dinosaurs in the world that existed 233 million years ago. Most of the members of this group were discovered in the '30s in South America. Gnathovrax is a species belonging to this family. It is a new early dinosaur with a nearly complete and partially articulated skeleton, which only missed a few parts and was named by Langer, Sergio da Silva Muller, and Pacheo. Gnathovorax cabreirai was found in the Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazil) and was described by Pacheco et al. in 2019. It was a predatory dinosaur that lived 230 million years ago during the Triassic period. It was the oldest carnivorous dinosaur to be discovered and was basically the sole king during its time as there were no other predators that could match its strength.

The fossils which were perfectly preserved have helped in collecting various data about this dinosaur and developing our understanding of concepts like anatomy that were once poorly understood. It has also helped in exploring various aspects of the oldest predator dinosaurs. Despite being one of the most researched dinosaurs, the evolution history of Gnathovorax is least understood. Muller and colleagues from the Federal University of Santa Maria and the University of Sao Paulo have given a detailed description of the species in an article in the PeerJ journal.

We have curated a bunch of interesting facts about Gnathovorax height, Gnathovorax size, and many more. Do not miss out on them. Once you have completed this article do check out our other articles on Homalocephale and Telmatosaurus.

Gnathovorax Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Gnathovorax'?

This early dinosaur's name Gnathovorax cariberi is a reference to Sergio Cabreira, a paleontologist who discovered its fossil in Brazil. It is pronounced as 'nat-ho-vo-rax'.

What type of dinosaur was a Gnathovorax?

Gnathovorax cabreirai was a new early dinosaur that belonged to the herrerasaurid saurischian dinosaur group (theropods). The Herrerasauridae is a very rare group of predatory dinosaurs and the Gnathovorax was the first to be discovered among them. This is one of the groups that has been the topic of most disputes. It was originally claimed that they were theropods, then that they were distant cousins of sauropodomorphs, and ultimately that they were not dinosaurs at all. Pacheo believed that they were members of the saurischian family.

In which geological period did the Gnathovorax roam the earth?

It roamed around the earth during the Triassic period, the first period of the Mesozoic era in the Santa Maria Formation. This period was tragic as it both began and ended with huge extinctions. The name was given based on the three layers of rocks found in Germany. In Greek, 'trias' means 'three' or 'triad'. During the Triassic period, there existed only one supercontinent called Pangaea.

When did the Gnathovorax become extinct?

Gnathovorax, a herrerasaurid dinosaur, existed during the Triassic period which occurred 250 million years ago. This period lasted for around 50 million years ago after which these theropods became extinct. One of the theories states that the cause of extinction was volcanic eruptions which significantly increased the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere. This caused acidification of the water sources. Not only did this dinosaur but a major part of the marine and terrestrial species became extinct.

Where did the Gnathovorax live?

Their partial skeleton fossils were found in the Santa Maria Formation which is now in the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (South America). They probably occupied forest regions surrounded by water bodies.

What was the Gnathovorax' habitat?

The Triassic era seems to have been mostly dry. This dinosaur would have populated the Arctic regions, which were supposedly wet and moderate, giving a climate appropriate for forest and other vertebrae to survive as much of the other interior parts were typically hot, dry, and unsuitable for life.

Who did Gnathovorax live with?

Based on the similarities with closely related species, herrerasaurids and sauropodomorphs, it can be concluded that these dinosaurs were mostly solitary hunters. This dinosaur might have hunted in pairs on rare occasions.

How long did a Gnathovorax live?

These predatory dinosaurs lived 230 million years ago during the Triassic period in Brazil. The data on the lifespan of this dinosaur is not sufficient.

How did they reproduce?

All dinosaurs reproduced by depositing eggs.  Their reproduction is thought to be quite similar to that of modern-day reptiles. Male and female dinosaurs would have mated following courting displays, with the male depositing sperm inside the female. The females would have next deposited the fertilized eggs, which included embryos. Hatchlings were well fed and taken care of until they were were able to fend for themselves. It is said that adults were very protective of their young ones however this is still a topic of debate.

Gnathovorax Fun Facts

What did Gnathovorax look like?

All Gnathovorax dinosaurs weren't the same size. They ranged from small to medium sizes. The braincase had a crest on top. They had around 19 maxillary teeth and 14 dentary teeth all of which were serrated on the edge. Unlike sauropodomorphs, they had a short neck with ridges by the lower edge of their vertebrae and dorsal vertebrae similar to the one observed in the Herrerasaurus. Their femur as wlonger than the tibia. They had well-built forearms and a super strong and developed elbow. The hand and hind limbs were long consisting of sharp claws. The skull of Gnathovorax was around 10 in (25 cm). A researcher from PeerJ (Peer-reviewed journal), in an article, said that the dinosaur was bipedal and had sharp claws to catch the prey.

Gnathovorax cabreirai was large and scary.

How many bones did a Gnathovorax have?

Due to a lack of data, the precise number of bones is unknown. According to what is recorded based on their fossils, the skeleton was partially complete consisting of three premaxillary bones, a full cervical dorsal series with nine partially articulated cervical and 16 articulated dorsal vertebrae, the skull, in particular, was exceptionally well preserved.

How did they communicate?

We all know that dinosaurs couldn't communicate since they didn't have vocal cords. Instead, they possessed air sacs that allowed them to emit weak noises. These theropods might have communicated visually by making certain body motions. The crest-like feature on their heads had to have played a significant part in their courting behavior. Other predatory and defensive activities must have involved vocal communication.

How big were the Gnathovorax?

Though fossils show that they were small to medium-sized dinosaurs, there weren't many other dinosaurs around at the time. The Gnathovarax was the biggest carnivorous dinosaur. We can tell from the remains that it was nearly 10 ft (3 m) tall and no estimations have been made on their body length.

How fast could a Gnathovorax move?

The CT scan revealed their remarkable ability to regulate their head, neck, and eye motions, which would have given them an advantage while running or walking. The well-built leg and proper weight distribution would have made sprinting a breeze for these dinosaurs. Despite the fact that we do not know the actual speed, all of these characteristics imply that they were incredibly swift animals.

How much did a Gnathovorax weigh?

The Gnathovarax was a glutton. From small mammals to reptiles, it almost ate everything it could find. As per the estimation based on analysis, this dinosaur must have been around 1000 lb (454 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

Male and female dinosaurs did not have any specific names. They were simply referred to as Gnathovarax.

What would you call a baby Gnathovorax?

A baby dinosaur does not have any special name either. Just like all other dinosaur babies, they too were referred to as hatchlings or juveniles.

What did they eat?

The teeth of a dinosaur always help us gather a lot of information. From the Gnathovorax teeth, it is evident that they were carnivorous dinosaurs. Apart from this, their fossils also consisted of the remains of Cynodonts and Rhynchosaurus which indicates that they must have consumed them. This dinosaur was one of the largest predators at the time and was on the top of the food chain. This means that they did not spare anyone. They would have devoured small mammals as well as other dinosaurs.

How aggressive were they?

One look at this dinosaur's teeth and claws will show you how aggressive they were. They were ferocious and devoured anything they could get their hands on. These predatory dinosaurs would viciously hunt not only other mammals but also dinosaurs. There were no other predators at the time and this dinosaur was the sole king. They were even more aggressive.

Did you know...

The remarkable preservation of bones made the reconstruction process of this dinosaur effortless.

Certain aspects of herrerasauridae anatomy, such as the endocranial soft tissues, were too complicated for human minds until the discovery of this dinosaur. The well-preserved Gnathovorax specimen has considerably aided in understanding and collecting data about other members of this family.

The only type specimen of Gnathovorax, G.cabreirai was described by Pacheco et al.

Gnathovorax cabreirai is closely related to the Herrerasaurus and Sanjuansaurus.

According to Muller, the skeleton of Gnathovorax cabreirai was the first full skeleton to be discovered in Brazil.

Why are they called Gnathovorax?

The genus name is derived from the Greek word 'gnathos', which means 'jaw', and the Latin 'vorax', which means 'voracious'. Due to the ability to devour large amounts of prey with their jaw, this name was given to them by Cristian Pacheco, Rodrigo Temp Müller ( paleontologist at the Federal University of Santa Maria), Max Langer (paleontologist at the University of Sao Paulo), Flávio Augusto Pretto, Leonardo Kerber, and Sergio Dias da Silva.

Who discovered the Gnathovorax?

The holotype specimen which is a nearly complete and partly articulated skeleton was discovered in 2014 in the Marchezan site in the Rio Grande do Sul municipality of So Joo do Polesine by the paleontologist Dr. Sergio Furtado Cabreira. The location from where the fossil was found retains rocks from the Santa Maria Formation of Parana basins Candelaria sequence.

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 Caseosaurus facts and Chindesaurus facts for kids.

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

Main image by Juan(-username-)

The second image is owned by Maurissauro.

Gnathovorax Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Mammals and smaller dinosaurs

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?

Short arms and long tail

How Much Did They Weigh?

1000 lb (454 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

10 ft (3 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Type species: Gnathovorax cabreirai

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Terrestrial habitat

Where Did They Live?

Southern Brazil (Triassic period)
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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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