The horned Ceratosaurus is one of the most distinctive meat-eating dinosaurs. This medium-sized predator lived in North America and Europe during the Jurassic, around 150 million years ago.
Scientific Name: Ceratosaurus nasicornis
Characteristics: Ceratosaurus was a slender carnivore with a distinctive large skull with a blade-like horn on its snout and a small horn over each eye. It walked on two long legs and had three-toed feet and sharp curved claws. It had very short but powerful arms with four-fingered hands, although only three fingers had claws. It had rows of small bony plates embedded in the skin of its neck and back, and had a long tail to help it stay balanced. The largest specimens suggest adults reached up to 22 feet long.
Size and Color: This figure is 7.75 inches long and 4 inches high. It has light brown skin and a flashy red neck.
- The Ceratosaurus is part of the Wild Safari® Prehistoric World collection
- All of our products are Non-toxic and BPA free
Ceratosaurus was named in 1884 by the eminent American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh of Yale University. Marsh based his description on an almost complete skeleton from Colorado. In reference to its most distinctive feature, Marsh named it Ceratosaurus, meaning ‘horned lizard’, and gave it the species name C. nasicornis, meaning ‘ornamental nose’. Today, Ceratosaurus is known from at least five individuals, including a nearly complete mature adult skeleton and a young skeleton.
Most Ceratosaurus fossils come from the 150-million-year-old Morrison Formation in Colorado and Utah, USA. Three other species of Ceratosaurus have been named, including C. dentisulcatus, from Utah and Portugal; and C. magnicornis, from Colorado. However, some paleontologists regard these species as invalid. Instead, they suggest that these slightly different species are really variants of C. nasicornis, possibly due to changes in the skeleton that occurred as the animals matured. The third species, C. roechlingi, was described in 1925 from Tanzania, Africa, but this probably represents a different type of dinosaur related to Ceratosaurus.
Ceratosaurus’ striking nasal horn may have looked vicious, but it was compressed from side to side and was actually rather delicate. It was probably used for show, not as a weapon, and may have been colorful. Ceratosaurus is unique among theropod dinosaurs because it is the only one with rows of small bony plates preserved along its neck and back. These would have given it a grizzled appearance in life, and a very tough skin.
Ceratosaurus lived alongside the larger predator Allosaurus and therefore probably occupied a different ecological niche and had a different hunting strategy. Maybe Ceratosaurus preferred a diet of small prey.
- Recommended Age: 3+
- Size in cm: 19.5 L x 10 H
- Size in inches: 7.68 L x 3.94 H
- UPC: 095866303006