Fun Procompsognathus Facts For Kids

Nidhi Sahai
Jan 16, 2023 By Nidhi Sahai
Originally Published on Sep 28, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Procompsognathus was a small therapod from Late Triassic era.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

The Procompsognathus (Procompsognathus triassicus-ancestor of the elegant jaw) was a genus of very small theropod dinosaurs. It was named by Eberhard Fraas in 1913 and is in phylum Chordata, clade Dinosauria, genus Procompsognathus, and the family Coelophysidae. The scientific name triassicus refers to the time period in geology to which they actually belonged to. He initially named the type species P. triassicus because of the poorly preserved skeleton which was found in Wurttemberg, Germany. They have a very closely related dinosaur species called a Compsognathus. Some contemporaries of Prompsognathus are Halticosaurus, Coelophysoids, Sauropodomorphs Plateosaurus gracilis, Efraasia minor, and Dolichosuchus. The fossils which were excavated were so poorly preserved that the best information available is that they were carnivorous reptiles. However, there is still a question on whether they were early theropods or late archosaur akin. They were very short dinosaurs compared to other ceratopsians and were 3 ft (91.44 cm) long. They were even smaller than human beings, almost the size of a labrador. They had long hind legs, short arms, a slender snout, clawed hands, a stiff tail, and ate insects in their diet.

Got an interest in dinosaurs? You can also read about Gorgosaurus and Utahraptor to get more insight about them.

Procompsognathus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Procompsognathus'?

Procompsognathus means 'before Compsognathus' (which means 'pretty jaw'), and they are pronounced as 'pro-komp-sog-na-thus'.

What type of dinosaur was a Procompsognathus?

The Procompsognathus was a very small theropod and also had a much smaller skeleton system than other theropods like the Mapusaurus.

In which geological period did the Procompsognathus roam the Earth?

The Procompsognathus used to live in the Late Triassic Period in history, which was about 222-219 million years ago.

When did the Procompsognathus become extinct?

They were so small and were one of the earliest dinosaurs so to know their exact period of extinction is tough, but they might have gone extinct roughly around 200 million years ago.

Where did a Procompsognathus live?

These tiny theropods were dinosaurs of dry habitats and their fossils were found in Germany, Europe.

What was a Procompsognathus's habitat?

This 3 ft (91.44 cm) long Procompsognathus inhabited the swamps of western Europe and other scrublands and semi-arid regions. Some other fossils were found in Grand Est (France).

Who did a Procompsognathus live with?

This primitive dinosaur was a moderately social dinosaur. They used to socialize with animals of their own pack as other large dinosaur species would have caused harm to them.

How long did a Procompsognathus live?

Procompsognathus dinosaurs are assumed to have lived 200 million years ago in the late Triassic period in history and wwere named by Eberhard Fraas in 1913.

How did they reproduce?

There is no information available on their reproducing methods. The very close dinosaur species of Compsognathus used to reproduce by laying eggs and the Procompsognathus came before them, so there might be a possibility that they were oviparous too.

Procompsognathus Fun Facts

What did a Procompsognathus look like?

The Procompsognathus was a 3 ft (91.44 cm) long tiny theropod that was discovered by Fraas in 1913, when its length was estimated to be 2.5 ft (76.2 cm). They had long hind legs but very short arms. They had a very light build, ground-dwelling, and were bipedal carnivore dinosaurs whose classification until now has been under little doubt because of the poorly preserved fossil. The two bones discovered, the femur and tibia, were long which suggests that they were good runners. Fraas initially named the type species P. triassicus.

The specimen of this dinosaur has not been found in a good state and the fossil from the late Triassic period in history denotes their small size and lightweight.

How many bones did a Procompsognathus have?

The number of bones a Procompsognathus skeleton had is tough to count because scientists have not found any good fossils and their size was too big to determine an approx number.

How did they communicate?

There is almost no information available on the communication ways of this dinosaur. In general, dinosaurs used to communicate both verbally and by displaying some signs. 

How big was a Procompsognathus?

This dinosaur (Procompsognathus triassicus) was not all big, even if we compare it to modern-day animals. Unlike most theropods, they were merely 29.52-31.49 in (75-80 cm) in length.

How fast could a Procompsognathus move?

These dinosaurs are considered very good movers. Their small size and strong legs were an advantage for them to be fast runners.

How much did a Procompsognathus weigh?

The Procompsognathus size or weight of clade Saurischia was about 35-52 oz (1.0-1.5 kg) which is almost as same as a modern-day Rottweiler.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and the female of this dinosaur species of Europe, the Procompsognathus (Procompsognathus triassicus).

What would you call a baby Procompsognathus?

The baby of this herbivore dinosaur species (Procompsognathus triassicus) does not have any particular name. They are called baby Procompsognathus dinosaurs.

What did they eat?

Procompsognathus dinosaurs were carnivorous and ate small prey like insects, reptiles like snakes, beetles, and small animals in their diet.

How aggressive were they?

These animals were aggressive but only with the members of their own clan who were almost the same size as them. Almost all the dinosaurs which existed with them were bigger than them so there were fewer signs of aggression.

Did you know...

There is a very little known fact about this tiny Procompsognathus (Procompsognathus triassicus) dinosaur. They appeared in the cameos of Michael Crichton's novels 'The Lost World' and 'Jurassic Park'. People have often mistaken it with the close dinosaur species of Compsognathus. Michael had portrayed them as venomous in 'Jurassic Park' and made them an eater of Sauropods.

These dinosaurs were scavengers and so the makers of 'Jurassic Park' mostly used them. They helped with cleaning up the park and made the island cleaner than before.

Was the Procompsognathus poisonous?

Scientists are yet to discover venomous dinosaurs but these theropods were not venomous at all. They were hardly even harmful. There are books in which they have been portrayed venomous, however this is fictional.

Procompsognathus vs. Compsognathus

the Procompsognathus (Procompsognathus triassicus) and the Compsognathus are two very closely related dinosaur species but they both belong to two very different time periods in history. The Procompsognathus was from the late Triassic Period, which was about 222-219 million years ago and Fraas initially named the type species P. triassicus. The Comprocompsognathuswas from the later Jurassic period in history. They both were extremely small species of dinosaurs. The Procompsognathus are considered as those dinosaurs who came before the Comprocompsognathus and were smaller than them, almost the size of a chicken. The later dinosaur species of Comprocompsognathuswas was about the size of a turkey. Procompsognathus means 'ancestor of the elegant jaw' and Comprocompsognathus means 'elegant jaw'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Kelmayisaurus facts pages and the Pentaceratops facts pages for kids.

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

Second image by Ghedoghedo

Procompsognathus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Insects, small mammals, and reptiles

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

35-52 oz (1.0-1.5 kg)

Skin Type

Hard skin

How Long Were They?

29.52-31.49 in (75-80 cm)

How Tall Were They?

10.2 in (26 cm)









Scientific Name

Procompsognathus triassicus

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?


Where Did They Live?

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Written by Nidhi Sahai

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Nidhi Sahai picture

Nidhi SahaiBachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.

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