Ceratosaurus (Ceratosaurus): description, characteristics, photo

It was a carnivorous bipedal dinosaur that lived in North America during the late Jurassic period. He had one small horn, located at the end of the snout just behind the nostrils. Ceratosaurus bones are sometimes found near the fossilized remains of another large predator, the Allosaurus. And although both animals lived in the neighborhood, Ceratosaurus was a rarer inhabitant of the North American landscape in the late Jurassic period.

It is extremely rare to find two large predators in one place. Such findings suggest that these animals had a different feeding strategy. The body length of the Allosaurus reached up to 12 m, while the Ceratosaurus was no higher than 6 m. Allosaurus, apparently, chose a large prey for itself stgosaurus, diplodocus and apatosaurs. The accumulation of fossil remains of allosaurs in one place indicates that animals hunted in herds. Ceratosaurus, on the contrary, hunted small ornithopods and other medium-sized animals. The remains of Ceratosaurus are rare, so it can be assumed that it was a lone hunter.

The body of Ceratosaurus was held on large columnar legs. The forelimbs, although they were much shorter, had sufficient strength. It was with them that the predator grabbed its prey. The head of Ceratosaurus was large and heavy, with a massive skull balanced by a long, massive tail. However, the skull of Ceratosaurus was not very strong, and the neck was not too long compared to other carnivorous theropods. The skeletons of Ceratosaurus and Allosaurus are generally similar, but Ceratosaurus had four fingers on its front paws, and not three, like Allosaurus. It is this circumstance that does not allow us to talk about close family ties between these two predators.

No wonder Ceratosaurus looks just like a dragon from a fairy tale book. Just look at the horny protrusion on his nose and the bizarre ridges above his eyes! Two more ridges grew over the eyes. Along the back a row of bone plates, like the ancient ancestors of dinosaurs, the spinous processes of the dorsal vertebrae are high. The tail is flexible, apparently without stiff tendons that braided the vertebrae.

The forelimbs are very short, but retain 4 toes. The skull is lightly built, kinetic (could expand due to movable joints between the bones) for swallowing large pieces of meat. Very large upper teeth, in some species their tops, when the mouth is closed, stick out below the lower edge of the lower jaw.

For the first time, the remains of Ceratosaurus were discovered in 1883 by paleontologist M.-P.Felcham in the excavation in Fremont County, Colorado (USA). Since then and up to the present day, quite a few remains of this type of dinosaur have been discovered, but scientists still managed to collect enough fossil bones to get a good idea of ​​\u200b\u200bwhat it must have looked like.

Hunter Skeleton

Studying the skeleton of a ceratosaurus, all scientists agree that this lizard was a carnivore and the structure of its body was ideally suited for hunting. He had a fairly large skull, most of which was.jaws almost as large as those of an allosaurus.

However, it is difficult to say exactly how Ceratosaurus hunted. He could do it alone, hiding between trees and then pouncing on unsuspecting prey. Some scientists believe that ceratosaurs may have hunted in small packs.

When the ceratosaurus attacked its prey, it probably first sank its teeth into it, and then tore out pieces of flesh from the victim’s body thanks to its powerful neck muscles.

If the victim resisted, then the ceratosaurus could hold it with its strong forelimbs.  At the same time, Ceratosaurus, like other carnivores, could eat the remains of any dead animal if it was lucky enough to stumble upon them.

On occasion, the ever-hungry ceratosaurus could be not only a hunter, but also a carrion eater. In any case, it is known that Ceratosaurus could easily swallow huge pieces of meat. The study of the skeleton shows that the structure of the skull allowed the bones to diverge to the sides, and therefore the huge terrible mouth could swing open unusually wide.

Judging by some skeletons, the body length of Ceratosaurus reached 6 m, other bones found indicate that this dinosaur should have been somewhat larger. Judging by other remains, it can be assumed that its size was somewhat less. However, it is quite possible that all these remains belonged to individuals that were at different stages of growth.

Horn problem

Scientists find it difficult to say anything definite about the horn on the nose of Ceratosaurus: perhaps males could use it in fights with rivals, or it was intended to attract a female during the mating season. It is possible that the size of the horn was an indicator of age, and as the ceratosaurus grew older, the horn increased. There is a theory that in some cases, ceratosaurs could vigorously shake their heads up and down to demonstrate their horn.

Riddle of combs

Another mystery is the bone ridges above the eyes of Ceratosaurus. Perhaps they served as protection for the eyes during fights with the enemy, but they could also be simply a means to attract a female. As for the row of bone plates stretching in a narrow ridge along the ridge of the ceratosaurus, no one knows their purpose. They clearly could not protect the ceratosaurus from enemy attacks and may have been purely decorative.

If paleontologists manage to find more ceratosaur remains, it is possible that these mysteries will be solved. But it may also happen that we will never know the exact answer to all questions.

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