Allosaurus Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Allosaurus
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Allosaurus



dinosaur picture allosaurus

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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Saurischia
  Suborder Theropoda
  Infraorder Carnosauria
  Superfamily Allosauroidea
  Family Allosauridae
  Genus Allosaurus
Allosaurus was a common carnivorous (meat-eating) dinosaur in North America during the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous period, approximately 154 to 135 million years ago. Allosaurus fossils have also been found in Africa and Australia.

Allosaurus was up to 39 feet (11.9 meters) long, and weighed approximately 1.7 tons.

Some scientists believe Allosaurus was too heavy to chase down prey, and therefore was probably a scavenger. However, others believe that Allosaurus may have been quite agile, and could even have hunted in packs to bring down giant herbivores (plant-eaters) such as Apatosaurus or Diplodocus.

The first Allosaurus fossil was incorrectly described as a "petrified horse hoof". In fact, it was a caudal vertebra (tail bone) of this dinosaur, although it was not recognized as such at the time. Using much more material, including a partial skeleton, Othniel C. Marsh published the first description of Allosaurus in 1877.

One of the most important Allosaurus specimens found, was discovered in Wyoming, in 1991. This animal, which has been nicknamed "Big Al", was actually smaller than average for its particular species of Allosaurus (it was probably not fully grown), and even though many bones showed signs of infection (which may have contributed to the animal's death), was very important because the skeleton was 95% complete. Furthermore, the same team which discovered "Big Al", also subsequently discovered a second well-preserved specimen, which has been nicknamed "Big Al Two". The discovery, and possible life-story of "Big Al", served as inspiration for a special episode of the BBC/Discovery TV series, Walking With Dinosaurs, entitled "The Ballad of Big Al".

Allosaurus has been designated the official state fossil of Utah, since 1988.

Allosaurus Skull Fossil
Fossilized Allosaurus skull at Dinosaur National Monument.


Allosaurus Timeline:

Allosaurus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 154 to 135 million years ago

Allosaurus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 154 to 135 million years ago

Related Information & Resources

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Allosaurus Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Allosaurus:
  1. Allosaurus was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "Allosaurus" means "different lizard" or "strange lizard". This name was chosen by Othniel C. Marsh in 1877.

  3. Allosaurus was a member of the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Allosaurus was not closely related to lizards, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.

  4. Allosaurus was a Theropod - a member of a group of related bipedal dinosaurs that included the ancestors of birds (although Allosaurus was not itself an ancestor of birds).

  5. Allosaurus lived between about 154 million years ago and 135 million years ago, during the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods.

  6. Allosaurus lived in North America, Africa and Australia.

  7. Allosaurus was a carnivore (meat-eater).

  8. Some scientists think that Allosaurus was probably a scavenger, but others think it was an active predator. There is even possibility that Allosaurus may have been a pack hunting animal, with individuals working together to bring down prey.

  9. Allosaurus was about 39 feet (11.9 meters) long.

  10. Allosaurus weighed about 1.7 tons.

  11. Allosaurus is the official state fossil of Utah.

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