Carnotaurus ‭(‬Meat eating bull‭)

Short Info

Carnotaurus ‭(‬Meat eating bull‭)

Phonetic : Car-no-tore-us.

Named By : José Bonaparte‭ ‬-‭ ‬1985

Diet : Carnivore

Size : Estimated 8 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Large Theropod

Type Species : C.‭ ‬sastrei‭ (‬type‭)‬

Found in : Argentina,‭ ‬Chubut Province‭ ‬-‭ ‬La Colonia Formation

When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 70 million years ago

Carnotaurus (aka: ka:rnoU’to:r@s) is Theropod dinosaur genus that was found within South America during the Late Cretaceous period, which was probably from 72 to 69.9 millions years ago. The only species that is known is Carnotaurus sastrei. The species is recognized from a single, well-preserved skeleton, it is considered to be one of the theropods with the highest understanding from within the Southern Hemisphere. The skeleton, discovered during the year 1984 was found within the Chubut Province of Argentina from rocks from the La Colonia Formation. Carnotaurus is a descendant of the Abelisauridae which is a family of huge theropods which were a part of the huge predatory niche within the southern regions of Gondwana in the Cretaceous period of late. Within the Abelisauridae the Carnotaurus genus is usually regarded as an ancestor of the Brachyrostra which is a clade of short-snouted species that are which are restricted in South America.


Carnotaurus, Chlupáč Museum, Prague-2
Carnotaurus, Chlupáč Museum, Prague-2.jpg: Czech Wikipedia user Packaderivative work: Hic et nunc, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Carnotaurus was a small-sized bipedal predator that measured 7.5 to 9 meters (24.6 to 29.5 feet) in length, and having a weight of 1.35 tonnes (1.33 length tons and 1.49 shorter tons). As a theropod Carnotaurus was extremely specialized and distinct. Carnotaurus had horns with thick, long horns over the eyes, a characteristic that was not seen in other carnivore dinosaurs. It also had a large skull sitting on a strong neck. Carnotaurus was also distinguished by the small, worn-out forelimbs as well as long, slim hind legs. The skeleton has been preserved with numerous skin impressions, revealing the mosaic of tiny non-overlapping scales, approximately 5 millimeters in size. The mosaic was shattered by bumps of a large size that lined the animal’s sides but there aren’t any evidence of feathers.


Carnotaurus reconstruction HeaddenJaime A. Headden (User:Qilong), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The distinct horns and muscles of the neck could have been utilized in combat with against other species. According to different studies the two individuals could be fighting each other using swift head blows, slow smacks on the upper parts of their skulls, or hitting each other head-on, using their horns to absorb shock. The eating habits of Carnotaurus are not clear Some studies suggest that the animal could catch large prey species like sauropods, whereas other studies showed it preyed on small mammals. The brain cavity in Carnotaurus indicates an keen sense of smell however, sight and hearing were not as well developed. Carnotaurus probably had a good adapted to running and could be one of the largest theropods that could run at a speed.

The sole Skeletal (holotype MACN-CH-894) was found during an excavation in the year 1984 headed by Argentinian paleontologist Jose Bonaparte. The team also discovered the unusual Spiny Sauropod Amargasaurus. This was the 8th mission within the project called “Jurassic and Cretaceous Terrestrial Vertebrates of South America”, which began in the year 1976 and was funded through the National Geographic Society. The skeleton has been preserved well and articulated (still joined) with just the posterior two-thirds of the tail and a significant portion of lower leg and the hind foot being damaged through weathering. The skeleton belongs to an adult person as evidenced by the sutures that are fused inside the braincase. The skeleton was discovered in a position on the left and displayed the typical death pose, with the neck bending back over the chest. It is unusually preserved with numerous skin impressions. Due to the importance of the impressions, another investigation was initiated to reinvestigate the site of excavation and resulted in the discovery of skin patches. The skull was deformed in fossilization and the snout bones on the left side moving forward in relation to the right side and the nasal bones being pushing upwards and the premaxillae being pushed backwards on those nasal bone. The deformation also increased the upward curve of the upper jaw. The snout was the most strongly subject to deformations than the back portion of the skull, probably due to the more rigidity of the jaws in the latter. When looking from the top or bottom the upper jaws were more U-shaped in comparison to lower jaws. which resulted in an apparent discord. This is the result of the deformation that occurred from the sides that caused the jaws of upper, but it did not affect the lower jaws possibly due to the more flexibility of joints in the lower jaws.

The skeleton was found at a farm called “Pocho Sastre” near Bajada Moreno in the Telsen Department of Chubut Province, Argentina. Since it was embedded in a massive hematite concrete which is a hard type of rock, the process was a challenge and took a long time. The year 1985 was the time that Bonaparte issued a paper that described Carnotaurus sastrei as a brand new species and genus, and discussing the lower jaw and skull. The name Carnotaurus is generic. Carnotaurus originates from the Latin carno, which means “carnis” (“flesh”) or Taurus (“bull”) which could be translated as “meat-eating bull”, an reference to the animal’s horns that resemble bulls. The particular name sastrei sastrei is in honor of Angel Sastre, the owner of the ranch on which the skeleton was discovered. A complete description of the entire body was released in 1990. Following Abelisaurus, Carnotaurus was the second of the family Abelisauridae discovered. For a long time, it was the most well-understood member of the family and the most well-understood of theropods in that part of the Southern Hemisphere. It wasn’t until the 21st century when similar abelisaurids with well-preserved fossils were identified with the names Aucasaurus, Majungasaurus and Skorpiovenator which allowed scientists to reconsider specific aspects in the anatomy of Carnotaurus. The holotype skeleton can be seen at the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences, Bernardino Rivadavia; replicas are on display in other museums across the globe. The sculptors Stephen as well as Sylvia Czerkas manufactured a life-sized sculpture of Carnotaurus which was displayed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. This sculpture, which was commissioned by the museum in the mid-1980s, may be the first ever life-like restoration of a dinosaur with an accurate skin.

Carnotaurus was a huge but a little built predator that was a little built. The only one known specimen was around 7.5-9 meters (24.6-29.5 feet) of length which makes Carnotaurus among the biggest abelisaurids. Ekrixinatosaurus and perhaps Abelisaurus that are incredibly inaccessible, could be similar or even larger in dimensions. A study in 2016 revealed that only Pycnonemosaurus with a length of 8.9 meters (29.2 feet) was larger than Carnotaurus and was estimated to be 7.8 meters (25.6 feet). The mass of the animal is believed to be 1,350 kilograms (1.33 long tonsand 1.49 shorter tons) 1500 kilograms (1.5 length tons and 1.7 short tons) and 2,000 kilograms (2.0 long tonsand 2.2 short tons) 2,100 kilograms (2.1 long tonsand 2.3 short tons) and 1,306-1.743 kg (1.285-1.715 lengthy tons, 1.440-1.921 shorter tons) in two separate studies using various estimation methods. Carnotaurus was a highly-specialized theropod, particularly in the skull’s features and vertebrae, as well as the forelimbs. The hind and pelvis limbs however were relatively conservative, similar to those of the basal Ceratosaurus. The pelvis as well as the hind limb were lengthy and thin. In the left front femur (thigh bone) of the person has a length of 103 cm however, it has the average diameter of 11 centimeters.

Source: Wikipedia