Compsognathus Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Compsognathus
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Compsognathus



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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Saurischia
  Suborder Theropoda
  (unranked) Coelurosauria
  Family Compsognathidae
  Genus Compsognathus
Compsognathus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived in Europe (fossils have been found in Germany and France) during the late Jurassic period, about 155 to 145 million years ago.

Compsognathus is smallest known dinosaur, and was about the size of a chicken. It was 2½ to 4½ feet (0.7 to 1.4 meters) long, and weighed about 6 to 7 pounds (about 3 kilograms). It is believed to be the closest known of relative of the early bird, Archaeopteryx.

Compsognathus was a fast-runner and used its speed when hunting lizards, insects and other small animals.

Compsognathus is known from two near complete skeletons that were found in Germany and France. The German specimen was discovered by Joseph Oberndorfer in Bavarian limestone deposits in the 1850s (where well-preserved Archaeopteryx specimens have also been found). Johann A. Wagner described the specimen in papers in 1859 and 1861, and called it Compsognathus longipes. In 1868, Thomas Huxley hypothesized that the creature was closely related to dinosaurs, and in 1896 Othniel C. Marsh recognized that Compsognathus was in fact a dinosaur. The French specimen of Compsognathus was discovered in 1972, and although this was originally thought to be a separate species, it was later realized that the German specimen was a juvenile member of the same species.


Compsognathus Timeline:

Compsognathus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 155 to 145 million years ago

Compsognathus was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 155 to 145 million years ago

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Compsognathus Facts

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

  2. "Compsognathus" means "dainty jaw".

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

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

  5. Compsognathus lived between about 155 million years ago and 145 million years ago, during the Jurassic period.

  6. Compsognathus lived in Europe.

  7. Compsognathus was a carnivore (meat-eater). Compsognathus's diet is known to have included small agile lizards, as fossilized remains of stomach contents have been found.

  8. Compsognathus was about 2½ feet (0.7 meters) to 4½ feet (1.4 meters) long.

  9. Compsognathus weighed about 6 or 7 pounds (about 3 kilograms).

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