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Compsognathus Fact Sheet
Dinosaur/Paleontology Dictionary
NAME: Meaning - Compsognathus means "pretty jaw"
Pronounced - KOMP-sog-NAH-thus or komp-SOG-no-thus
Named By - Johann A. Wagner
When Named - 1859
DIET: Carnivore (meat-eater) - Compsognathus caught and ate small animals, including insects and lizards. John Ostrom found fossilized remains from a Compsognathus' stomach that contained the skeleton of the fast-running lizard Bavarisaurus.
SIZE: Length - 28 inches-4.6 feet (0.7-1.4 m) long
Height - 10 inches (26 cm) tall at the hips
Weight - 6.5 pounds (3 kg)
WHEN IT LIVED: Late Jurassic period, about 155-145 million years ago
WHERE IT LIVED: Fossils have been found in Germany and France, Europe.
FOSSILS: Compsognathus was first discovered by Dr. Oberndorfer in limestone deposits in the Riedenburg-Kelheim region of Bavaria, southern Germany in the late 1850's. Compsognathus is known from two fossilized skeletons.
CLASSIFICATION:
  • Kingdom Animalia (animals)
  • Phylum Chordata (having a hollow nerve chord ending in a brain)
  • Class Archosauria (diapsids with socket-set teeth, etc.)
  • Order Saurischia - lizard-hipped dinosaurs
  • Suborder Theropoda - bipedal carnivores
  • Tetanura - advanced theropods with three fingers
  • Infraorder Coelurosauria - lightly-built fast-running predators with hollow bones and large brains
  • Superfamily Maniraptoriformes - advanced coelurosaurs with a fused wrist bone
  • Family Compsognathidae - small, with small, pointed heads, two-fingered hands, and flexible necks
  • Genus Compsognathus
  • Species C. longipes (type species named by Wagner, 1859 )
INTERESTING
FACTS:
Compsognathus was about the size of a chicken and is one of the smallest-known dinosaurs. It walked on two long, thin legs, had three-toed feet, a small, pointed head with small, sharp teeth, hollow bones, and a long, flexible neck. Compsognathus had short arms with two clawed fingers on each hand. A long tail acted as a counterbalance and for stability during fast turns.


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