The invisible predator


  • Name: Staurikosaurus
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Weight: 35 kg
  • Period: Triassic
  • Found In: Brasil

Staurikosaurus was a small carnivorous theropod that lived in the Middle Triassic and incredibly became one of the first dinosaurs to live on earth.


What does the name Staurikosaurus mean?

The term ‘Stauriko’ represents the astronomical constellation of the Southern Cross. This constellation can be seen very lucidly from the southern hemisphere. The term ‘sauros’ is the Greek word for ‘lizard’. Therefore, the word ‘Staurikosaurus’ is roughly translated as ‘the Southern Cross lizard‘.

The binomial name Staurikosaurus pricei is derived from the discoverer of its fossils, Llewellyn Price. This name was coined by paleontologist Edwin Colbert.

History of the discovery of Staurikosaurus

The Staurikosaurus was a carnivorous dinosaur. Its size was approximately 6 to 7 feet long. Its weight was about 30 to 35 kilos. Despite its modest dimensions, the Staurikosaurus was a fierce hunter. It hunted smaller vertebrates and invertebrates. These characteristics were magnified exponentially in the great theropods of the Jurassic period.

The discovery of the Staurikosaurus was fundamental to understanding the origin of carnivorous dinosaurs. Most of the early sauropods discovered earlier were herbivores. The transition between herbivorous and omnivorous dinosaurs to carnivorous dinosaurs was better understood due to Herrerasaurids like the Staurikosaurus.

Additional details on the discovery

The Staurikosaurus fossils were first excavated by scientist LI Price in 1936. They were discovered in the Jazigo Cinco region of the Santa Maria formation in Brazil.

  • Another partial skeleton was discovered from the Ischigualasto Formation in Argentina that is attributed to the Staurikosaurus.
  • Few remains have been excavated from the Elliot Formation in South Africa, and they are also believed to belong to the Staurikosaurus.
  • Certain fossils derived from the southern region of North America are also considered to belong to the Staurikosaurus.

Africa and South America was a unique continent in the Triassic period. Therefore, many overlapping fossils are found in these regions. It is also very possible that the dinosaurs related to this one developed on separate continents.


Classification of Staurikosaurus

Because the Staurikosaurus was a primitive dinosaur, its classification was difficult, as there were not many species of dinosaurs available to compare the fossils.

The Staurikosaurus was supposed to be a simple theropod from Benedetto’s group of paleontologists.

It was classified as a basal sauropod by Sereno and his colleagues when they first examined it. But prosaurus is herbivorous and, judging by the teeth of the Staurikosaurus, it definitely was not.

More recent studies by Sues have corroborated Benedetto’s initial assessment that Staurikosaurus is a theropod dinosaur belonging to the Herrerasauridae family.

When and where did the Staurikosaurus live?

The Staurikosaurus was one of the first dinosaurs to walk the earth, which was discovered in modern times. It was a small theropod that existed in the mid-Triassic period of the Mesozoic era. The timeline of its existence is judged to be around 230 to 220 million years.

Staurikosaururs description

The Staurikosaurus was a terrestrial, carnivorous organism. It probably fed on smaller vertebrates and other dinosaurs. It could grab its prey and chew it up before swallowing it.

It used speed to reach its target and also to flee from its predators.

The Staurikosaurus probably resided in heavily wooded areas. Dinosaurs that lived in such regions rarely left complete skeletal fossils on the ground, as in the case of Staurikosaurus.

Some important details about Staurikosaurus physiognomy

  • The size of Staurikosaurus’ jaw indicated that it had a long snout and a larger head.
  • The length of Staurikosaurus was approximately 2 to 2.5 meters. Its height was approximately half a meter.
  • Staurikosaurus was a bipedal dinosaur. It could stand on its hind legs. It probably could not walk if/when its front legs touched the ground.
  • The Staurikosaurus weighed between 60 and 70 pounds.
  • The Staurikosaurus’ tail was very long. It was sturdy at the base and thin towards the end.

Curiosities about Staurikosaurus

Although dinosaurs were not present in abundance during the Staurikosaurus period of time, they were important in forming a solid foundation for dinosaur dominance in the Jurassic period.

Curiosities about their characteristics

  • The characteristics of Staurikosaurus coincide with those of many other Triassic vertebrates. This shows the complex and intricate process of evolution during the Noria era, which led to a large number of dinosaurs being seen in the Jurassic period.
  • The discovery of Staurikosaurus helped to better understand vertebrates like Spondylosoma.
  • The Staurikosaurus was one of the first dinosaurs to be seen on earth. Its carnivorous adaptations probably 

Thanks to the discovery of this important dinosaur, Brazilian paleontologists were able to make a name for themselves in paleontological circles.