The Ceratosaurus was a genus of theropodic ceratosaurid dinosaurs that inhabited our planet during the Jurassic period, approximately 150 million years ago.
Those belonging to this genus did not possess a large body, yet they were about 2 meters high and no less than 5.5 meters long.
Their length is due to the fact that they had a rather long tail that represented 50% of their length. In terms of weight, it would have been relatively light as it had a maximum mass of 500 kg.
The most remarkable feature of the Ceratosaurus was precisely its tail, since it had the function of maintaining balance and locomotion. In addition, this structure had long spines.
If you have been wanting to learn more about the Ceratosaurus… Read on and find out all about this carnivorous dinosaur from the Jurassic period!
Taxonomy of the Ceratosaurus
- The specimen belongs to the Animalia kingdom.
- This dinosaur corresponds to the phylum Chordata.
- Its class is Sauropsida.
- Located in the Diapsida subclass.
- We found it specifically in the infraclass Archosauromorpha.
- The animal belongs to the superorder Dinosauria.
- Its order is called Saurischia.
- It corresponds to the suborder designated Theropoda.
- The Ceratosaurus is part of the superfamily Ceratosauria.
- It is located within the family called Ceratosauridae.
- The genus we are referring to is Ceratosaurus.
In this specimen there is something that is identified as a type species, and in this case we call it Ceratosaurus nasicornis, which has been studied and reviewed because a group of skeletons was found in a formation identified as Morrison.
These fossil remains included fractured bones and incomplete skulls. It should be remembered that this formation is found in what we know today as the western part of the North American country.
It is important to point out that this specimen was one of the first to be found, and also one of the first theropods to be known.
It is this fact that makes the classification and denomination a quite complicated and even impossible mission.
On the other hand, there are also vestiges of the type species in another formation located in a southern European country, as well as in Tanzania.
Characteristics of this dinosaur
The skull of this extinct specimen has a rare protuberance that actually seems to be a singular horn, precisely in the dorsal area of that skull. In addition, the sacral bone can also be seen totally linked or attached to a bone that we know as the sinsacrum.
On the other hand, if we focus on the pelvic area, the bones of that area were in fact rarely linked, all these qualities made this huge specimen to be considered one of the strangest of all theropods.
But for many people, what was really interesting about this dinosaur was the great armor it possessed and which it surely showed with pride when it wandered about its territory.
This kind of armor is considered to be a dermal armor since this structure was considered to be actually the skin of the animal.
This skin’s own annex was made up of tiny elements identified as osteoderms, elements that could be found right in the medial area of the back. This was a quality that is fascinating for many scientists and dinosaur lovers.
As for the tail, we can say that it was not of a smaller size, because it represented almost half of the total length of the animal, therefore it was not an element or a part of the body of little importance.
It is said that the tail fulfilled many functions besides the most typical ones we already know, such as balance and locomotion.
This famous tail was composed by strong and thin bones, besides presenting wonderful spines that surely terrified their prey.
The vestiges found were ordered and it is calculated that this individual could measure up to 5 and a half meters long, having during its existence a height that was more than 2 meters.
Nevertheless, scientists still have serious and great doubts about whether it was a specimen that had managed to develop to maturity or whether it was an animal that was in a full stage of development.
This means that the remains found probably belonged to a young dinosaur that had not yet reached the fullness of its capabilities.
As far as the size of this great animal is concerned, a scientist now identified as Norman went so far as to express the fact that these specimens were really huge, and possibly the size they could have reached was more than 6 meters long.
This hypothesis was supported by other vestiges found, which also led to think that the weight of these specimens could exceed half a ton.
There were many assumptions and studies to determine the true size these creatures could have reached.
While the scientist Marsh ventured to state that this animal could have been 1 ton in weight, another scientist identified as Gregory Paul came to state without any fear that actually half a ton was the limit.
At first it was believed very faithfully that this really was a fairly common animal, however, after careful study of the head of the specimen, they realized that things were not that way.
As we have already mentioned the skull of the animal turned out to be of a much more considerable size when compared to the rest of the body structure, a fact that left them really intrigued.
In addition, certain deformations could be seen in the area of the nose, precisely in the bones of that area, which clearly differentiated it from other theropods.
Then they went a little further than the obvious and noticed that precisely in the eye area there were certain protuberances in the form of crests, a fact that made them reflect on all the simple assumptions they had made in public through their reviews.
As for the arms, if we can say that they were not of considerable size, this quality was quite similar to other specimens.
At the end of each arm we can find four strong fingers that probably had specific functions when foraging.
This is known thanks to the findings and a whole series of vestiges that can be seen today in a museum located in the United States of America, so we know today that each finger was of a different size.
This is not a minor detail, much less if we begin to investigate a little about the life and behavior of this enormous animal.
The discovery of the Ceratosaurus
Due to the efforts of many scientists and explorers it has been possible to obtain a large number of remains, which are now known to have belonged to various individuals that turned out to be of the genus Ceratosaurus.
It is a group of fossil remains that are supposed to have belonged to some individuals that could have reached fullness or maturity.
However, among these remains it is possible to highlight another group of specimens that did not have the same fortune, specimens that were really young, after all everything serves to know more about these terrible specimens.
Part of those remains were extracted from a territory that today we identify as the central area of Utah, precisely in a place called the Dinosaur Mine, in honor of the fact that several vestiges of these extinct specimens could be found in that land.
In the year 2000, scientists Madsen and Welles did a great job and managed to explain many details about this specimen, a fact that many people appreciate.