The Dino Directory

Share this

Coelophysis

Images

Notes

You can see this dinosaur in the Museum.

Information

Early carnivores

In the Late Triassic Period dinosaurs were not at the top of the food chain. Instead, early large reptiles called phytosaurs and rauisuchids domintated.

Early meat-eating dinosaurs like Coelophysis relied on their speed and agility to catch a variety of animals like insects and small reptiles. The sharp teeth and grasping claws of Coelophysis would have helped them to hold and kill their food.

Cannibalism?

A fossil find of an adult skeleton with what appeared to be young Coelophysis bones inside its rib cage led scientists to speculate that Coelophysis ate each other when the opportunity arose.

Recent analysis has disproved this, however, by showing that the bones inside the ribcage are not a baby Coelophysis after all, but belong to a small crocodile.

Hollow bones

Coelophysis means 'hollow form' and this comes from the hollow limb bones. This feature was shared by many other dinosaurs, and would have given Coelophysis a lightly-built body, helping it to be a swift, agile hunter.

  • Bring Coelophysis to life

    Watch this dinosaur walk around your room in 3D using augmented reality

  • Investigate

    Explore dinosaurs with the same body shape as Coelophysis in the Dino Directory

  • Extra

    There may be more details in Wikipedia

Fact file

Pronounced
seel-OH-fie-sis
Meaning of name
hollow form
Length
  3m
Height
  2m
Weight
27kg
Teeth
small and sharp
Diet
carnivorous
Food
vertebrates
How it moved
on 2 legs
When it lived
Late Triassic
(225 - 220 million years ago)
Found in
USA

Taxonomic details

Taxonomy
Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Neotherapoda, Ceratosauria, Coelophysoidea, Coelophysidae, Coelophysis
Type species
bauri