By: Staff

Updated on: 05/04/2022

Ceratosaurus is an extinct genus of theropod dinosaur that lived during the Kimmeridgian to Tithonian period (156 million to 145 million years ago). They dwelt alongside other dinosaurs like Allosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Camarasaurus and Torvosaurus.

Scientific Classification

Species:C. nasicornis (type species) C. dentisulcatus C. magnicornis

Quick Facts

Name Meaning:Horned lizard
Size:Length – 18 ft to 22 ft Height – 8 ft to 12 ft
Weight:1155 lbs
Bite Force:0.5 tons
Habitat/Environment:Semiarid region with open floodplain grasslands or riverine forests.

Physical characteristics

Ceratosaurus Pictures

Ceratosaurus possessed quite a large head compared to its bulky figure. They had a strong S-shaped neck and a short horn on its snout. It also had unusually long teeth; short four-fingered ‘hands’ with sharp claws; and a massive thin and flexible tail with high vertebral spines. Like Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus also had small horn-like ridges (formed by lacrimal bones) in front of their eyes.

Ceratosaurus Photos

Behavior and Diet

Ceratosaurus were savage, carnivorous creatures. In its habitat, they competed with other predatory dinosaurs like Allosaurus and Sauropods. Scientists believe that Ceratosaurus stayed and hunted in packs. Some believed that they were scavengers.


Ceratosaurus Size
Ceratosaurus Fossil

Unlike Allosaurus, their range is known from just a handful of skeletons. In the US, Ceratosaurus specimens have been found in Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in central Utah and the Dry Mesa Quarry in Colorado. The type species, Ceratosaurus nasicornis, was first described in 1884 by Othniel Charles Marsh. Other two species – C. magnicornis (discovered in the Fruita Paleontontological Area, outside Fruita, Colorado) and C. dentisulcatus (found in the Lourinha Formation in Portugal) were described in 2000. However, the validity of these two species has been challenged by several paleontologists. Two additional disputed species are C. ingens and C. stechowi.

Interesting Facts

Ceratosaurus Images
Ceratosaurus Skeleton
Ceratosaurus Skull
  • A recent research by Robert Bakker stated that Ceratosaurus primarily fed on aquatic prey, such as fish and crocodiles. It also stated that adults and juveniles ate together at times.
  • The nasal horn of Ceratosaurus, believed as the most powerful weapon, was for defensive and offensive purposes. But a recent study suggested that it was either used in intraspecies battle during mating season, or they were just for display purpose, which would make it brightly colored.
  • Ceratosaurus has appeared in several movies and documentary films including Jurassic Park III and When Dinosaurs Roamed America.
  • The closest relatives of Ceratosaurus include Elaphrosaurus and Genyodectes.
  • Ceratosaurus was better swimmer than Allosaurus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *