Several scattered remains of coelophysis or coelophysis were first found in 1881. Then in 1947, a very large number of remains were found in New Mexico; the preservation of some of the skeletons was amazing: neither before nor after that it was possible to find such well-preserved remains of dinosaurs.
Coelophys had a very graceful body, which probably indicates his ability to run well. Despite being an early dinosaur, its body structure already differed significantly from animals such as Herrerasaurus and Eoraptor.
The body of a coelophysis corresponds to a theropod, but the pectoral girdle shows some interesting features: Coelophysis bauri had a so-called furcula, the earliest known example in dinosaurs. Coelophys also possessed four toes on its forelimbs.
For dinosaurs, coelophyses were small only about 3 meters long, with most of this length falling on the neck and tail. Although they were not giants, they were still dangerous predators: when attacking a prey, they used their forelimbs.
Coelophyses were among the first dinosaurs to appear on Earth and were among the first to be thoroughly studied. The most startling discovery was that Coelophyses fed on members of their own species. Scientists were amazed to find the bones of a baby coelophysis inside the chest of an adult.
However, Bob Gay opined in 2002 that these specimens have been misinterpreted (several “coelophysis baby” specimens are actually small reptiles such as Hesperosuchus) and that there is no further evidence to support cannibalism in coelophysis. Bob Gay’s study was confirmed in 2006 by subsequent studies by Nesbitt and colleagues. New findings of the stomach contents of coelophytes could clarify this issue.