Dinosaur Facts Compsognathus
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There are a lot of known facts about compsognathus that are simply not true anymore. it is not the smallest of dinosaurs, it wasn’t poisonous, we don’t know if it lived in packs are just three. However there is plenty to know about this tiny terror and our real compsognathus facts below should help you learn about this little carnivore.

The Compsognathus lived 161-146 million years ago, during the late Jurassic, It was a carnivorous dinosaur that despite being 3.5 to 4.5 feet in length and 7-8 lbs. in weight was the largest dinosaur of its location and era. It was a coastal dwelling dinosaur whose diet included, provably, small vertebrates and insects

dinosaur facts for kids

We have 25 facts about the tiny terror that was the compsognathus, including answering questions like, was compsognathus poisonous?, Is compsognathus the smallest dinosaur, and is Compsognathus the fastest dinosaur.

You can check some of these in the fast Facts below, and don’t forget to check out our printable fact sheets to download, print and add to your collection! ,

So let’s jump into our compsognathus facts before this fast dinosaur runs away with them!

Compsognathus Quick Facts

compsognathus facts
  • Compsognathus could grow up to 4.1 -4.6 feet) long 1.25- 1.4 meters) and had a height of 11 inches. They were actually bigger than most people think!
  • The weight of Compsognathus was around 3 kg (7.7 pounds) for the larger specimen
  • Compsognathus has been suggest to run at up to 40 mph and is perhaps known to be one of the fastest bipedal species,
  • Although there is not conclusive proof that Compsognathus had feathers. Thoughts now are it may have had “protofeathers” or a very light covering
  • It has been found with its stomach contents fossilized with it! Compsognathus ate small vertebrates (animals with a back bone) (and probably insects)
  • The first Jurassic park, Jurassic Park 2 The Lost world and Jurassic World Fallen kingdom have featured a Compsognathus.
  • Compsognathus can be a little tricky to pronounce, it has more letters than it needs and they are all over the place. However it does only have four syllables and is said like this. Kom – Sog – Nah – Thus

How big was the Compsognathus?

Although for many years Compsognathus was considered to be one of the smaller non avian ( bird like) dinosaurs, they were actually a little larger than thought. They could grow up to 4.1 -4.6 feet) long 1.25- 1.4 meters) and had a height of 11 inches. ( the original specimen was found in germany and much smaller at 3 feet long and about 20 cm tall.


How heavy was the Compsognathus?

The weight of Compsognathus was around 3 kg (7.7 pounds) for the larger specimen found in France in 1970, and less for the german fossils discovered 100 years before which were estimated to weigh between 0.7 lbs, and 1 lbs.


How long was the Compsognathus?

The length of Compsognathus was around 4.1-4.6 ft, although for a lot of years it was thought to be much smaller at 2.5 to 3 ft long from the first fossils discovered. these fossils from germany were later discovered to be a young or juvenile animal.


How tall was the Compsognathus?

Again the height of a Compsognathus varies depending on which fossils you look at. The smaller german fossils are 8 inches tall , and the larger French fossils were approximately 10 – 11 inches tall. These measurements were taken from the hip and it would be a little taller when the head was raised.

Compsognathus Fact sheet for kids

How Big was the Compsognathus Head?

Compsognathus had a 3 inches long pointed head. That was full of small sharp teeth. The jaws and head of this dinosaur gave it its name. Which means “elegant jaw” Though its its trying to eat you then i guess it would be anything but elegant!


Compsognathus facts

Did Compsognathus have feathers?

Relatives of compsognathus, juravenator, fossils have been found that have imprints of the skin of the dinosaur. On the skin there is some evidence that it may have had feathers. the fossil skin is from the back legs and the tail.

Although there is not any conclusive proof that Compsognathus had feathers. Thoughts now are it may have had “protofeathers” or very light covering over some of its body. It is also possible that some members of its dinosaur family had them and some didn’t!


What was Compsognathus Habitat?

The compsognathus lived around 150 million years ago. The environment at the time was coastal with beaches, reefs and lagoons. It has been found with fish, mollusks and other sea animal fossils.

This indicates it lived by the coast, possible on islands or an archipelago. Interestingly no other dinosaurs have been found with them and it may have actually been the top predator and largest dinosaur where it lived. Though as it also lived with pterosaurs it was unlikely to be the largest predator.


Was the Compsognathus Poisonous.

There is no evidence suggesting that compsognathus was either venomous or poisonous. The only suggestion of this is in the novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Its teeth show now traits of other poisonous animals, and the only dinosaur suggested, and heavily disputed to be poisonous as sinornithosaurus.

You can read more about poisonous dinosaurs here on our site.


What Were Compsognathus Dinosaurs related to.

There are two known relatives of compsognathus, the similar in size and appearance Juravenator and the bigger Scipionyx. From skin impressions on the juravenator it is believed that that dinosaur had early feathers, and therefore compsognathus may have had proto feathers too.


Did Compsognathus live in packs.

There is no overwhelming evidence that compsognathus lived in packs or groups. Jurassic park may have depicted them as pack animals but this was conjecture. however it is would not be unexpected if it was found to be true as smaller animals often live together for both protection and sourcing of food.


What is the full name of the Dinosaur “Compies”

Actually Jurassic Park introduced this dinosaurs by a shorter abbreviation of their full name. So in fact the “compies” were the compsognathus we discuss here. The movies had a habit of shortening dinosaur names, as 5 minutes after seeing the triceratops for the first time it is referred to as a trike.

Compsognathus facts

How Fast Could the Compsognathus Run?

Compsognathus has been suggested to run at up to 40 mph and is perhaps known to be one of the fastest bipedal species, It would also but them close to the fastest dinosaur ever lists!

However this computer model, which judged the compsognathus to be able to run at a speed of 17.8 metres per second, (40 miles an hour, has been criticized by other paleontologists.


What Did a Compsognathus eat?

We actually know exactly what Compsognathus diet was and is was a carnivore. It has been found with its stomach contents fossilized with it! Compsognathus ate small vertebrates (animals with a back bone) (and probably insects) the remains of a fossilized lizard were fossilized with the german specimen.

The lizard was later identified as first a Bavarisaurus , and then a Schoenesmahl  whose name means beautiful lizard that is difficult to digest!!


What Movies Have Featured a Compsognathus?

Jurassic park, Jurassic Park 2 the lost world and Jurassic World Fallen kingdom featured a Compsognathus. It was depicted as living is a group and being willing to attack larger prey ( including people!) In fact in the Jurassic World book it actually attacks John Hammond.


When Did the Compsognathus become Extinct?

The only fossils to date of Compsognathus are from the middle to late Jurassic Period around 150 million years ago. It was thought to live in that time but the exact reasons, or time it went extinct are unknown.


Could the Compsognathus Swim?

As most animals are able to swim in some for it is likely that compsognathus could swim to a degree, however there is no evidence to suggest it would choose to do so often. It was suggested at one point that its hands and limbs may have webbing to help then swim but this was later disproved.


compsognathus facts

What does the name Compsognathus Mean?

The name Compsognathus means “elegant jaw” “pretty Jaw” or even “dainty Jaw” it was named, as you can guess from its small and relatively narrow jaw.


Was Compsognathus the smallest Dinosaur?

The compsognathus is often portrayed as the smallest ever dinosaur. However, a discovery in 1970, 110 years after the first fossilized compsognathus discovery added up to 30% in size and weight to this small dinosaur. Also the discovery of Microraptor dislodged it from its spot as the smallest known dinosaur in 2000.

Up until the 1990s Compsognathus was thought to be the smallest known non avian dinosaur on earth, Since then microraptor has taken the spot, and even more recently a potential though disputed reptile caught in Amber, Oculudentavis naga, is thought to have been even smaller.

Although it was actually called chicken sized for many years, it was found in the 1970s to be more like the size of a turkey. It may have been a pretty weak carnivore though.


How many Teeth Did Compsognathus have?

Compsognathus had sharp pointed teeth well suited for eating small vertebrates. A German specimen had three teeth in each premaxilla. There are around 16 teeth in each maxilla and there were 18 teeth were in its lower jaw. The adult compsognathus discovers in france was found with more teeth. This makes a total of up over 60 teeth!


Where can you find Compsognathus Fossils(Where were they discovered)?

The fossils of Compsognathus were found in France, Germany and possibly Portugal. France and germany have proved almost complete skeleton remains, where portugal has possible teeth of the compsognathus that have been discovered.


When did Compsognathus Live?

Although Compsognathus fossils have been dated from 150 million years ago, during the late Jurassic. It was thought to be alive between a larger range around 161 to 146 million years ago.


Did Compsognathus have Small arms

Compsognathus had short arms.  At the end of Compsognathus limbs, there were two clawed fingers. There Is still debate if compsognathus has 2 or fingers, as most theropod dinosaurs have three, however the fossils show if there was a third finger it was likely not used, and reduced in size.


Compsognathus facts

Who discovered the Compsognathus?

The fossils of Compsognathus were first discovered by Dr. Oberndorfer in southern Germany in 1850. Although the exact location is not known the area suspected has seen some excellent fossil discoveries included feathered archaeopteryx and pterosaurs with actual evidence of their wing membranes.


Who named the Compsognathus?

Compsognathus was named by Johann A. Wagner in 1859. though at the time it was not thought to be a dinosaur but a new kind of Lizard.


How to Pronounce Compsognathus?

Compsognathus can be a little tricky to pronounce, it has more letters than it needs and they are all over the place. However it does only have four syllables and is said like this. Kom – Sog – Nah – Thus

Kom – Sog – Nah – Thus


Conclusion

Compsognathus for so long the smallest dinosaur in the world has been replaced, quite some time ago, with the Microraptor ( the clue is in the name!) However its title despite being inaccurate now, seems to be difficult to shake.

its popularity due to is appearance in the Jurassic Park and World series of films is a likely factor in this.

however despite its small size, now considered a little larger but still not a giant, it is currently considered to be the largest dinosaur in its areas and its time period, if not the largest predator.

Whether it hunted in packs or not has not been decided by science, even if it has been decided by the movies, but it would be the first, and certainly not the last small dinosaur, living 150 million years ago, to seek protection in numbers

As large, or as small as they were they were certainly fast, maybe not 40 miles an hour fast, dinosaurs and we hope you have learnt a little more about them here.

Don’t forget to look over the rest of our dinosaur facts pages, our coloring and facts sheets are also free to download. We have popular dinosaurs Like Velociraptor and Allosaurus to some less well known ones that are appearing in the new Jurassic World dominion movies.

There are answers to common dinosaur questions, and loads of other cool dinosaur activities and resources to look at. Just check them out on the big button below.

References

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6127793_Estimating_maximum_running_speeds_using_evolutionary_robotics

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/dino-directory/compsognathus.html

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/worlds-smallest-dinosaur-revealed-be-mystery-reptile-180977975/

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