Ceratosaurus was a dinosaur that didn’t know what it wanted to be. Was it a member of the horned family of dinosaurs, was is a shark toothed dinosaur, was it a smaller version of a trex with horns or was it the Allosaurus brother. By looking at that horn, the teeth and the two legs it walked on it can be hard to tell at first look. So we take a look at the facts about the ceratosaurus.
Ceratosaurs lived at a time when there was pretty intense competition between carnivores and with two that were bigger and badder than even the ceratosaurus was! Maybe all those horns, teeth and spike were a way of making things a little more level, read below to find out!
Ceratosaurus Quick Facts
Ceratosaurus was a large theropod dinosaur that lived about 161 to 145 million years ago, during the Late Jurassic period,
The name Ceratosaurus means ‘horned lizard’ because of the horns on its nose, above its eyes and the spikes along its back.
It was smaller than Allosaurus who lived at the same time, and was about 23 feet long.
it would have weighed between 1000-2000 lbs ( 500-1000kg)
It is easy to tell the difference between this and other carnivores because of the 4-5 inch horn on its nose. Giving it the nickname the horned T-Rex
Ceratosaurus was a carnivore and is thought to have eaten young sauropods, brachiosaurus, diplodocus as well as fish and marine reptiles.
Ceratosaurs looks more difficult to say and pronounce than it is. It has just four syllables and is said like this Seh – Rah – Toe – Sore -Rus.
25 Facts about the Ceratosaurus for Kids.
1. Ceratosaurus was a large theropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, around 160-145 million years ago.
2. It lived two other large carnivores at the time and in the same area, the Allosaurus and the torvosaurus and probably competed for food with them.
3. The name Ceratosaurus means ‘horned lizard’, and comes from the Greek Language referring to the horns on its head.
4. It weighed about one ton (1-2000 pounds). and would be about 18 -23ft long. This is much smaller than the allosaurus with which it shared its environment.
5. Ceratosaurus had horns, three horns just like a triceratops. However they were much blunter and less long. They were probably used to attract mates rather than defense.
6. It also had bony spikes along its back, which were likely for defense, though they were not particularly large.
7. The head of ceratosaurus was quite large for its size and could measure 60 cm long ( 24 inches)
8. Ceratosaurus had a distinctive horn on its snout, which is thought to have been used for display or territorial purposes. This horn was about 7 cm long, although when living could have been longer. It also had horns on its brow, above each eye.
9. The teeth of Ceratosaurus were blade-like and serrated, ideal for slicing through flesh. They were also very long for a dinosaur of this size and could be nearly 4 inches long! There were over 50 teeth in that large mouth as well.
10. It is thought that Ceratosaurus preyed on other large dinosaurs, such as stegosaurs and sauropods however it is also thought that it could and would have caught fish and other water reptiles like crocodiles with those long sharp teeth.
11. Ceratosaurus had four fingers on each hand, not three or two like other theropod dinosaurs. Its arms were short, but not as short as carnotaurus or T-Rex though.
12. The first complete skeleton of Ceratosaurus was discovered in 1883-4, in the USA.
13. Since then, many more fossils of Ceratosaurus have been found in North America and Africa.
14.Ceratosaurus fossil brains ( yes that a thing) have shown that it would have had a very good sense of smell.
15. The majority of Ceratosaurus fossils come from the Morrison Formation, a Late Jurassic geological formation that spans much of western North America. However it has been found in portugal in Europe as well.
16. The Morrison Formation is renowned for its abundance of dinosaur fossils, including those of Allosaurus, Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus. With carnivore dinosaurs most, up to 75%, of all found have been Allosaurus. Ceratosaurus was much rarer it seems.
17. Ceratosaurus was featured in the film Jurassic Park 3, albeit for a very short time. The horn seems a little large in the film but it is a pretty good idea of what it would have looked like.
18. Ceratosaurus was found by Marshal Felch in 1883 near canon city in colorado. That particular area has produced amazing amounts of fossils including diplodocus, allosaurus and more.
19. It took a year to be named by Marsh ( who has named a lot of dinosaurs!) when he called it ceratosaurus.
20. Although famous for its horn, and the nickname the horned T-rex, or T-rex with a horn that did cause problems when deciding where to put it in the dinosaur family tree. Eventually it was decided it was different enough to put it in is own family called ceratosauridae
21. it had quite a deep (tall) tail that some scientists have suggested might have been adapted for swimming, which would lend weight to the eating of fish and aquatic dinosaurs theory.
22. It is thought that Ceratosaurus and Allosaurus were the top predators in their ecosystem, and would have competed with each other for food.
Ceratosaurus coloring pages, and other dinosaur coloring pages can be downloaded from the link above.
23. Although this horned T-Rex may have appeared in more recent movies like the jurassic World and Park series, it has actually been a movie star for over 100 years! its first movie was a black and white movie called “Brute Force” released in 1914.
24. The first African fossil of Ceratosaurus was discovered in Tanzania in 1913. It was identified as ceratosaurus by German paleontologist Werner Janensch. this discovery was significant as it showed that Ceratosaurus was not restricted to North America, as previously thought.
25. Ceratosaurs looks more difficult to say and pronounce than it is. It has just four syllables and is said like this Seh – Rah – Toe – Sore -Rus.
Ceratosaurus was certainly a mix of dinosaurs, at least in appearance. So different that it has got its own family name with just three members, and two of those there is a great deal of uncertainty if they are not just smaller and larger versions of the original!
- 3 horns on its head
- 9 cm teeth
- Bony spikes on its back
- Fast runner
- Maybe could swim.
i would have thought that in the movies they didn’t have to make a scary dinosaur, they could just have made a ceratosaurus!
If you would like to more about all the dinosaurs both big and small then you can click on the big button below this which takes you to our article list. There are loads of different herbivore and carnivore pages there to keep you busy and keep you learning. If you want to do something a little more creative we also have coloring pages and facts sheets to download
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.