Fun Syntarsus Facts For Kids

Ayan Banerjee
Jan 31, 2023 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Sep 24, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Syntarsus facts include that its name, 'Syntarsus' was first reported by Raath in 1969
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

Megapnosaurus is an extinct species of dinosaurs within the genus Coelophysis that existed during the early Jurassic period. In the beginning, it was named Syntarsus but later found that it was on the name of a beetle. The genus was first assigned to Podokesauridae but over the years, it was designated to Ceratosauria. There were mainly two types of Syntarsus discovered in history. One is the version of South America and the other being the version of North America. The name Megapnosaurus is a Greek word that means 'big dead lizard'. This dinosaur species of North America were found to have small crests on its head, linking it to the other therapods of the late Jurassic period. According to surveys, the Syntarsus kayentakatae found in North America had double crests whereas those found in South America had no crests. The theropod skeleton analysis revealed that they have an S-shaped neck, long back limbs, shorter four limbs, and a long tail. It is one of the first dinosaurs in history, thought to have feathers. This dinosaur posses narrow limbs and narrow feet. This dinosaur's eyes are similar to those of eagles and hawks, with a high capacity for accommodation. The findings also revealed that this dinosaur had poor night vision, implying that it had a circular rather than a divided pupil. It has a big, forward-facing head with a length of about 0.9 ft (27 cm). The sigmoid curvature in the neck was quite prominent. Also, read these interesting facts about Protarchaeopteryx and Megapnosaurus

Syntarsus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Syntarsus'?

The word can be pronounced as 'sin- tar- sus'.

What type of dinosaur was a Syntarsus?

Syntarsus is a carnivore, terrestrial, bipedal, lizard-hipped, and lightly built theropod dinosaur.

In which geological period did the Syntarsus roam the earth?

Syntarsus belonging to the genus Coelophysis were found rambling the earth as revealed from the history of their fossils, is during the early Jurassic time period, now known as Africa, approximately 208-188 million years ago. The characteristics of the fossils revealed that these species have been dated over a longer time period of the Hettangian, Pliensbachian, and Sinemurian stages of the early Jurassic period.

When did the Syntarsus become extinct?

The dinosaur named Megapnosaurus became extinct around 188 million years ago.

Where did a Syntarsus live?

Paleontologists found the bones of Syntarsus or Syntarsus rhodesiensis species in Upper Elliot formation in South Africa in 1985, northeastern Arizona, North America, and Shitake river formation in the forest sandstone formation in Rhodesia, called Zimbabwe in present times. So, it was concluded that they inhabit those areas during the early Jurassic time period. However, whether they were endemic to a certain location is not known.

What was a Syntarsus's habitat?

Syntarsus fossils were discovered in the Upper Elliot formation in South Africa, which was believed to be an ancient floodplain according to history. Again, paleontologists concluded from their studies that this dinosaur ecosystem includes a savanna-type climate like in present-day Kenya excluding the grasses, seasonally dry environments like a desert, and around oases.

Who did a Syntarsus live with?

Paleontologists recovered around 30 bones of Megapnosaurus rhodesiensis dinosaur species together in a single fossil bed in Zimbabwe, South Africa. As a result of which it was concluded that Syntarsus must have resided and hunted in groups or packs.

How long did a Syntarsus live?

Age determination studies or research were held and as a result of that, it was found that the lifespan of Megapnosaurus rhodesiensis species was approximately seven years. Recent studies revealed that the growth curve of the dinosaur species was highly variable in accordance with different species. Some species were larger in their immature stage whereas others were smaller even when they are completely mature.

How did they reproduce?

Syntarsus species, related to the genus coelophysis, are oviparous, meaning they are egg-laying species. They reproduce by the coupling of males and females. For terrestrial animals of the present day, a common strategy for preserving sperm is internal fertilization. So, it was assumed that it also existed in dinosaurs about million years ago. Females seem to have laid 24 - 26 eggs in each batch. Parental care was much needed during the first year of life to manage the hatchlings. Their reproduction technique can be understood from the study of the nest, nest colonies, embryos dated a few decades ago.

Syntarsus Fun Facts

What did a Syntarsus look like?

Syntarsus dinosaurs are thin terrestrial carnivores that reach lengths of up to 9.8 ft (299 cm). The torso of Coelophysis is similar to that of a theropod, but the pectoral girdle includes a furcula or wishbone. The open acetabulum and straight ankle hinge distinguish it from other dinosaurs. With a high hallux, the hindlimb ended on three-toed foot. The tail possessed an interesting structure within the interconnecting articular processes of its vertebrae that formed a semi-rigid lattice, which appeared to prevent the tail from moving up and down.

The fossils of Syntarsus kayentakatae species were discovered in the Kayenta formation's silty facies member. This sample was taken in 1977 from carbonaceous sandstone that was deposited during the Jurassic era

How many bones did a Syntarsus have?

The average dinosaur had approximately 200 bones and so do Syntarsus. It has frontal and parietal bones on the skull, foot bones or ankle bones, metacarpal bones, and so on.

How did they communicate?

Theropod dinosaur has some body language postures and poses that help them to express themselves and to communicate with the other dinosaur. They portrayed themselves in a number of uncountable ways to attract their mates. It was always approximations and assumptions on the side of researchers to understand the lifestyle of an extinct dinosaur.

How big was a Syntarsus?

Megapnosaurus measures approximately 10 ft (3 m) in length and weighed 70 lb (32 kg). It is 10 times bigger than a rabbit.

How fast could a Syntarsus move?

Syntarsus, later called Megapnosaurus, were bipedal species and regarded as a very fast runner. The speed of the dinosaurs is calculated using their body mass, leg size, and fossilized pathways. The footprint of Megapnosaurus dinosaurs was found 4 in (10 cm) long and 2.5 ft (0.75 m) wide.

How much did a Syntarsus weigh?

A Syntarsus or Megapnosaurus had light, hollow bones and weighed approximately 60-70 lb (27-31 kg). The small dinosaur of this type weighed around 0.44 lb (199 g) and the large theropod dinosaur had a body mass of about 3307-7716 lb (1499-3500 kg) as revealed by history.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There was no evidence of distinctly naming the male and female dinosaurs of the Early Jurassic, in relation to history. Although, it was found that Syntarsus fossils of relatively larger size were females, and the less numerous, small-sized fossils were male.

What would you call a baby Syntarsus?

There was no specific name given to the baby Syntarsus.

What did they eat?

Megapnosaurus was thought to be a meat-eater or carnivore and a hunter of small moving prey. The characteristics of the bone structure of the jaw and the front teeth were thought to be too weak to hunt down the prey and this reveals that this dinosaur was a scavenger. Coelophysis specifically preyed upon those animals that were considerably smaller than itself. According to Paul, this type of dinosaur must have hunted or preyed upon prosauropods, early lizards, and small vertebrates to fulfill their diet. Their diet primarily consists of meat as revealed from their fossilized stomach remains. It is estimated that Coelophysis may also be a fish eater. One species of Syntarsus, namely, Albertadromeus Syntarsus is a herbivore that feeds on grass as a part of its diet.

How aggressive were they?

Coelophysis dinosaurs are very hostile and are always engaged in aggressive confrontations. When they were hungry, they hunted upon other small vertebrates, and even feed on the dead remains of their prey as a part of their diet.

Did you know...

The first dinosaur species of Syntarsus, known by the name Syntarsus kayentakatae was found in North America.

The name, Syntarsus was first reported by Raath in 1969.

Syntarsus dinosaur species are nocturnal.

What does 'Syntarsus' mean?

The name Syntarsus is obtained from two Greek words, that is, 'syn' and 'tarsus' meaning together and ankle respectively. Hence, it means 'together-ankle', a state in which the distal fibula and distal tibia are joined.

Who were the Syntarsus' enemies?

At first, it was thought that Coelophysis species were cannibals based on the characteristics it possesses like the presence of juvenile specimens within the abdominal cavities of the dinosaur fossil. Enemies of this species include small vertebrates, and prosauropods, or the basal sauropodomorphs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Szechuanosaurus facts and Unaysaurus facts pages.

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

The second image is by Zhiheng Li, Zhonghe Zhou, and Julia A. Clarke.

Syntarsus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Lizards, prosauropods, small vertebrates

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

70 lb (32 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

10 ft (3 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Coelophysis rhodesiensis

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Dessert dunes, oases, floodplains

Where Did They Live?

North Africa, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and northeastern Arizona, America
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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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