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Coelurus facts for kids

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Temporal range: Late Jurassic
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Superfamily: †Tyrannosauroidea?
(unranked): Coelurosauria
Family: †Coeluridae
Genus: Coelurus
Marsh, 1879
  • C. fragilis Marsh, 1879 (type)
  • "C. gracilis" Marsh, 1888 (dubious)

Coelurus is a genus of coelurosaurian dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period (mid-late Kimmeridgian faunal stage, 153–150 million years ago). The name means "hollow tail", referring to its hollow tail. Although its name is linked to one of the main divisions of theropods (Coelurosauria), it has historically been poorly understood, and sometimes confused with its better-known contemporary Ornitholestes.

Like many dinosaurs studied in the early years of paleontology, it has had a confusing history, with several species being named and later transferred to other or abandoned. Only one species is currently recognized as valid: the type species, C. fragilis, described by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1879. It is known from one partial skeleton found in the Morrison Formation of Wyoming, United States. It was a small bipedal carnivore with elongate legs.

Coelurus is regarded as a small terrestrial carnivore, feeding on small prey items like insects, mammals, and lizards. It is thought to have been a fast animal.

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