Carnotaurus facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsCarnotaurus
Carnotaurus was a predatory dinosaur that lived 70 million years ago. It was a large theropod which lived in South America during the Upper Cretaceous between about 72 and 70 million years ago. Although there is only one well-preserved skeleton, it is one of the best-understood theropods from the southern hemisphere. The skeleton, found in 1984, was uncovered in the Chubut Province of Argentina.
Carnotaurus is a member of the Abelisauridae, a group of large theropods. The abelisaurids were a family of large theropods which lived only in the ancient southern supercontinent Gondwana. They were the dominant predators of the later Cretaceous of Gondwana. They occupied the ecological niche filled by the tyrannosaurids in the northern continents.
Carnotaurus was a lightly built, bipedal predator, 7.5 to 9 m (24.6 to 29.5 ft) in length and at least 1.35 metric tons (1.33 long tons; 1.49 short tons) in weight. As a theropod, Carnotaurus was highly specialized and distinctive. It had thick horns above the eyes, a feature not seen in other carnivorous dinosaurs, and a very deep skull sitting on a muscular neck. Also, it had small, vestigial forelimbs, smaller even than those of Tyrannosaurus.
The remains include skin impressions showing a mosaic of small, non-overlapping scales about 5 mm in diameter. The mosaic was interrupted by large bumps that lined the sides of the animal, and there are no hints of feathers.
The distinctive horns and muscular neck may have been used in fighting rivals of its own species. Rivals may have fought with quick head blows, by slow pushes with the upper sides of their skulls, or by ramming each other head-on, using their horns as shock absorbers. The feeding habits of Carnotaurus remain unclear: some studies suggest the animal was able to hunt down very large prey such as sauropods, while other studies find it preyed mainly on relatively small animals. Carnotaurus was well adapted for running and was possibly one of the fastest large theropods.
The animal lived in an environment of estuaries, tidal flats or coastal plains. The climate would have been seasonal with both dry and humid periods. The most common vertebrates collected include lungfish, turtles, crocodiles, plesiosaurs, dinosaurs, lizards, snakes and mammals. Turtles are represented by at least five taxa. In 2011, the discovery of a new enantiornithine bird from the La Colonia Formation was announced.
It appears in the movie Dinosaur (2000), when two Carnotaurus were fighting with Iguanodon, Pachyrhinosaurus and other species. And in Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom (2018), when fighting a Sinoceratops and gets taken down by the iconic "Rexy" the T-Rex. Later on in the movie, when it escapes the "Lockwood Manor" and in Michael Crichton’s book "The Lost World" (1995)
Images for kids
Sixth tail vertebra of the holotype in A) side, B) front and C) top views, with arrows indicating the highly modified caudal ribs
Carnotaurus Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.