Fun Herrerasaurus Facts For Kids

Monika Sharma
Feb 20, 2024 By Monika Sharma
Originally Published on Sep 23, 2021
Edited by Kidadl Team
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
One of the least known Herrerasaurus facts is they have black marks across their back and their underparts are pale like a common lizard.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

The Herrerasaurus is counted among the earliest dinosaurs, which lived around a million years ago. The dinosaur comes from the late Triassic period and is known to be predatory. Not many remains were collected of this dinosaur; as a result, the classification of the Herrerasaurus was altogether very vague. The earlier specimen which was found was argued to be either a basal theropod or a basal sauropodomorph. The complete discovery of its overall skeleton took place in 1988. Almost all the paleontology labs identified the Herrerasaurus be an early saurischian. This carnivore is a member of the Herrerasauridae family and is very similar to the few of the earliest Dinosauria. It's also believed that the Saurosuchus members of this family are one of the earliest to experience evolution.

This dinosaur from the ischigualastensis species was studied and named by Victorino Herrera and her colleague Reig. Once the discovery of the Herrerasaurus skull was made, many paleontology experts believed this was the earliest Carnosaur. The specimen of these predators was found in warm areas of Argentina. Significant dinosaurs from the Ischigualasto formation are known to be primitive and well equipped with claws. They are counted as one of the earliest primitive discovered dinosaurs. It can be easy to confuse their fossil with their relative theropods. Three toes and other features are very similar to other species of herbivores. However, these genera of dinosaurs have different bone structures. Their wrist and hip bones are very different, and their opposable thumb clarifies that they are Saurischians. Herrera's lizard was also known to live in South America. Even though they lived around a million years ago, their fossils weren't discovered until the late 1950s. To learn more about other exciting creatures, make sure to check out our articles on the vampire squid and the colossal squid.

Herrerasaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Herrerasaurus '?

Herrerasaurus means Herrera's lizard. The Herrerasaurus and the Staurikosaurus come at the base of the modern-day dinosaur family tree. Before the separation of these Ornithischians and Saurischians, these carnivorous dinosaurs were classified as non-dinosaurian. Although one of the partial skeletons of these bipedal carnivores was collected, the Jurassic park Herrerasaurus was classified again as its real species. You can pronounce this dinosaur from Brazil as "HER-RERA-saurus".

What type of dinosaur was a Herrerasaurus?

Until the complete Herrerasaurus skeleton was found, these dinosaurs were known as theropods, although there is a much similar range of features that a Herrerasaurus shares with theropods. They can be known as relatives of all dinosaurs, but they are not theropods. Rather these dinosaurs from the Herrerasauridae family are Saurischians.

In which geological period did the Herrerasaurus roam the Earth?

The Herrerasaurus genus has a place at the very bottom of the evolution tree. Around a million years ago they walked on land and are known as one of the earliest Carnosaurs. These earliest dinosaurs are from the late Triassic period. It can be assumed that the Ischigualasto formation was in existence for around 201.3 million years, counting back from the upper Triassic epoch.

When did the Herrerasaurus become extinct?

The earliest dinosaurs didn't face extinction entirely, they simply evolved and paved the way for new age dinosaurs. The striking similarity in the fossil of a Herrerasaurus can be seen when drawn in comparison with other fossils of new age dinosaurs which lived in the late Cretaceous period.

Where did a Herrerasaurus live?

The skeleton and fossils of these dinosaurs can be seen in any well-formed museum, talking about Herrerasaurus the isle. Earlier not much was known about this species and these dinosaurs were assumed to be from Argentina. A further search into their habitat and group behavior revealed that the Herrerasauridae also lived in places such as South America, San Juan, and the Ishigualasto region.

What was a Herrerasaurus's habitat?

Herrerasauruses were carnivores and came well-equipped with teeth to bite into flesh. They were not affected much by climatic conditions but preferred moist and warm climates. You could find these dinosaurs on volatile active plains covered by large forests. Even today the Herrerasaurus Dinosauria is known to be the most common carnivorous dinosaur.

Who did a Herrerasaurus live with?

These animals showed various behavioral signs which are known in animals that live in groups. Thus it is possible that the Herrerasauridae family used to hunt prey and eat in a group. They had long feet and their lower jaw could slide to chew food better. All the discovered theories point towards the fact that Herrerasaurus dinosaurs lived in a group. Although dinosaurs are no longer walking the Earth, we can still find their closest relatives on Earth. Right whales and false killer whales are related to the sea dinosaurs of those times.

How long did a Herrerasaurus live?

The Herrerasaurus size is much bigger than dinosaurs which walked along with them a million years ago. It's less likely that they would get hunted down as they often remained in groups. Researchers such as Victorino Herrera believe that this dinosaur from northwestern Argentina lived for around 10-20 years in the wild during the Triassic age.

How did they reproduce?

 Initially, this carnivore was assumed to be a theropoda, although the skull bone of this dinosaur speaks otherwise. This Saurosuchus is known to reproduce by laying eggs like other reptilia of today.

Herrerasaurus Fun Facts

What did a Herrerasaurus look like?

The Herrerasaurus from Brazil weighed many pounds but overall they were lightly built. They were born predators and often searched for their prey in a group. This genus of dinosaurs had very small heads and long tails. The Herrerasaurus skeleton of a younger specimen is almost half in size of that of an adult. All across the world's museums, they are known to be fully bipedal. They walked on land in search of prey and were well-equipped with strong hind limbs. Their remains have around five toes and outer toes are smaller. The specimen showcases various traits which can be seen in different groups of dinosaurs. Bones of their hip and feet were similar to many dinosaurs. They carried a narrow skull and had five pairs of skull openings. Their main hip bone had very little support but their large feet made up for it.

This family of dinosaurs hunted in groups and sometimes also ate dead animals such as lizards or leftover animals hunted by other dinosaurs.

How many bones did a Herrerasaurus have?

This dinosaur from the Triassic period had 12 hand bones and 20-21 foot bones. They are relatives to many other dinosaur families.

How did they communicate?

Communication during the search for food is essential for this carnivore dinosaur. The Herrerasaurus skull gives plenty of information about the intelligence bar of this dinosaur when it comes to communication among one another. Victorino Herrera believes that this dinosaur from northwestern Argentina can communicate through calls and with their tails.

How big was a Herrerasaurus?

The museum in places like America and other parts of South America depicts them to be 19.6 ft (6 m) in height. They are four times bigger in size than a red kangaroo and around 10 times larger than a pygmy hippopotamus.

How fast could a Herrerasaurus move?

During the formation of this genus and other such classification, researchers believed that the Herrerasaurus could run an average speed.

How much did a Herrerasaurus weigh?

The Herrerasaurus Jurassic park dinosaur weighed around 760-770 lb (330-350 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

Both sexes of this dinosaur had almost the same anatomy, leaving aside the classic female and male anatomy. Their skulls lacked the specialization which nearly all new age dinosaurs had. Both genders had vertebral centra and a nearly hourglass shape, which is very similar and striking when compared with the Allosaurus. Each gender also responded similarly to climate change and are addressed with similar names in museums that are present worldwide.

What would you call a baby Herrerasaurus?

Baby dinosaurs and babies of other reptiles share the same name. They are both known as hatchlings or nestlings.

What did they eat?

Earlier, these dinosaurs were known to be herbivores as they are relatives with many such other genera of dinosaurs. However, it was determined later that the Herrerasaurus was a carnivore (meat eating dinosaur) and they would search in groups for their prey. It's also known that sometimes they ate dead animals as it was an easier way to get food.

How aggressive were they?

This dinosaur from the Triassic period is known to be mildly aggressive; they dominated the Ischigualasto formation significantly.

Did you know...

The cranial specialization which is present in this species is very unique for dinosaurs, and today it has evolved as an independent organ for lizards.

The Herrerasaurus is almost 200 million years old.

They were endemic during old times.

Their teeth indicate that they were carnivorous.

What type of dinosaur is the Herrerasaurus?

The Herrerasaurus can be easily distinguished based on its dorsal part and its jugal bone. The Herrerasaurus belongs to the Herrerasauridae family and the Dinosauria clade.

Is the Herrerasaurus related to T rex?

It is not directly related to T-rex, but it comes first in the dinosaur tree so in some way the Herrerasaurus is related to 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 Gila monster facts and water dragon interesting facts for kids.

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

The main image is owned by PaleoNeolitic.

The second image is owned by Kumiko.

Fun Herrerasaurus Facts For Kids

How Much Did They Weigh?

760-770 lb (330-350 kg)

Skin Type

Hard scales

How Long Were They?

258 in (655 cm)

How Tall Were They?

19.6 ft (6 m)









Scientific Name

Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters
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Written by Monika Sharma

Bachelor of Science specializing in Electronics and Telecommunication

Monika Sharma picture

Monika SharmaBachelor of Science specializing in Electronics and Telecommunication

With a passion for crafting engaging and informative content, Monika brings a wealth of writing experience to our team. Her Bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunications from Symbiosis Institute Of Technology adds a unique perspective to her work, allowing her to effectively communicate complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. Over the past two years, Monika has perfected her writing skills through her roles as a content writer, content manager, and digital marketer for reputable companies in both the USA and India. This hands-on experience has provided her with a deep understanding of industry trends and best practices, ensuring that the content she produces is always of the highest quality. She stays current with the latest field developments,continuously refining her skills to deliver exceptional content.

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