Carnivorous dinosaurs: names, types, characteristics and pictures

Thanks to paleontology, we now have a lot of information about the fearsome predators of the Mesozoic. Numerous remains of carnivorous dinosaurs have been found both in Upper Jurassic rocks located in North America, as well as in China and Africa, among other places. These amazing bipedal dinosaurs played a very important role in the ecological balance of the ecosystems in which they inhabited, since they were in charge of regulating the populations of other animals that they fed on.

Characteristics of carnivorous dinosaurs and when they existed

The different species of carnivorous dinosaurs that existed were very varied in terms of their shape and size, although, thanks to the fossils that have been found in different parts of the planet and the associated paleontological studies, it has been possible to attribute the following characteristics of the dinosaurs carnivores to all known species:

  • Bipedalism , that is, they moved with the hind legs or hind limbs in such a way that the forelimbs or forelegs were free to perform functions other than locomotion.
  • Teeth numerous, serrated and curved , so they were fully adapted to carnivorous food.
  • Intracranial joints that allow movement between the different bones of the skull and facilitate the ingestion of large bites.
  • Long hollow bones .
  • Spinal column with a characteristic curvature in the shape of an “S” in the neck, to raise the head above the level of the back and improve visibility.
  • Hands with curved and pointed claws , useful for subduing prey and tearing the meat, as well as the carrion on which they fed.

When Dinosaurs Existed: Mesozoic and Cenozoic Era

“The Age of Dinosaurs ” is very extensive and encompasses not only a large part of the Mesozoic, Mesozoic Era or Secondary Era , but also the entirety of the following Era, that is, the Cenozoic, Cenozoic Era or Tertiary Era . , On all continents. Except in Antarctica, fossil remains of dinosaurs dating from these Eras or Periods have been found, with findings in South America, Asia, North America and Africa being very abundant.

What did carnivorous dinosaurs eat

Within their carnivorous diet , dinosaurs could have generalist habits or, on the contrary, more specific, so that they only ate one type of animal or even specific species. Among the main types of animals that were part of the diet of carnivorous dinosaurs are:

  • Other dinosaurs (hebivores, omnivores and even smaller carnivores).
  • Small mammals.
  • Fishes.
  • Small vertebrates (lizards, lizards, amphibians …).
  • Carrion.

Many were the dinosaurs that chose to feed on carrion, so that when a dinosaur or another type of animal died, either naturally or accidentally, the stench of its body was such that it attracted carnivorous dinosaurs from several kilometers to the round, as is the case today with scavengers .

Types of carnivorous dinosaurs

To better understand the habits of different groups and species of carnivorous dinosaurs, it is useful to group them, for example, into types of carnivorous dinosaurs according to the environment in which they lived and according to what they ate:

Types of carnivorous dinosaurs according to where they lived

  • Terrestrial carnivorous dinosaurs: the vast majority of dinosaurs that fed on the meat of other animals belonged to this group, as it was easier to attack prey and thus make use of their claws and other characteristics adapted to hunting in terrestrial environments.
  • Marine carnivorous dinosaurs: there were also some carnivorous dinosaurs that conquered the aquatic environment. The sauropterygium family stands out, one of the largest predators that inhabited the Triassic seas, such as the gigantic Kronosaurus, an animal that exceeded 10 meters in length. In addition, although many are already thinking about the mosasaurs (Mosasaurus), which were huge aquatic lizards related to the current monitor lizards (genus Varanus), it must be borne in mind that they were not really marine dinosaurs, but marine reptiles, and more specifically lizards.

Types of carnivorous dinosaurs according to their diet

  • Scavengers: They had thin and weak jaws, probably unable to withstand the stresses necessary to hold a live prey, compared to the strong jaws of active predators.
  • Of attack in herd: thus they were able to hunt prey of greater size than they would have been able to hunt alone.
  • Solitary: their huge bodies and fearsome claws and teeth allowed them to hunt all kinds of prey by themselves and thus be able to count on greater food resources, by not having to share the prey with other individuals.

From the oldest large carnivorous dinosaur, the Dilophosaurus (“reptile with two crests”), to the fearsome Carnotaurus (“carnivorous bull”) and the strange Ceratosaurus (“horned reptile”), the list of species names of Carnivorous dinosaurs includes a wide variety of shapes and sizes of these amazing animals:

  • Dilophosaurus
  • Carnotaurus
  • Ceratosaurus
  • Velociraptor
  • Tyrannosaurus rex
  • Allosaurus
  • Albertosaurus
  • Spinosaurus
  • Elaphrosaurus
  • Coelophysis
  • Compsognathus
  • Gallimimus
  • Oviraptor
  • Noasaurus
  • Herrerasaurus
  • Staurikosaurus
  • Segnosaurus
  • Segisaurus
  • Kronosaurus

Tyrannosaurus rex or tyrannosaurus rex: characteristics

The Tyrannosaurus rex ( king of the tyrant lizards) is the most famous and the largest dinosaur among carnivores. This one was so big that it is hard to imagine him running long distances after prey. It existed at the end of the Cretaceous , being one of the last known dinosaurs, becoming the main predators of the time, displacing the conventional “carnosaurs” that until then predominated as the most fearsome predators.

Characteristics of the Tyrannosaurus rex

These gigantic carnivorous dinosaurs reached 14 meters in length. Its voluminous tail balanced the trunk and head, while its legs were very firm and robust. All this made it a very heavy animal (up to 7 tons), although they were not clumsy or slow for that.

The “king” among the carnivorous types of dinosaurs , it is also well known for its short arms . Their curious little arms helped them to get up after being completely lying down during the rest, using them as support to get up from the ground and adopt their common bipedal posture.

Tyrannosaurus rex hunting technique

They were active predators and in turn fed on carrion, always acting alone. They were characterized by destroying all prey, thanks to their powerful cranial structures and strong jaws, with which they attacked the body of the weight, ramming them at a speed of 20 to 30 kilometers per hour.

Once they had the prey, with their serrated teeth they easily cut meat for food. The violent jerks and twists of the head, aided by the robust neck and legs, would tear the sturdier tendons, so that the Tyrannosaurus was capable of gobbling up large whole chunks of meat and bones.

Examples of carnivorous dinosaurs: Velociraptor and its characteristics

The Velociraptor (fast predator) belongs to the Dromaeosaurid Family. Its fossil remains have been found in rocks from the Upper Cretaceous, located exclusively in Eurasia.

Velociraptor characteristics

Their most outstanding characteristics is their enormous sickle-shaped claw on the second toe, which they used to attack their prey. To maintain the edge and tip of the claw, the animal kept it off the ground when moving, so that it only walked on two fingers. The velociraptor’s body is light and agile (it does not exceed 25 kg), with long fingers and claws also on the hands, as well as a flat and narrow head. They had one of the greatest offensive powers within the kingdom of dinosaurs, being considered very effective predators.

Velociraptor hunting technique

These agile carnivorous dinosaurs always hunted in packs , as they rarely weighed more than their prey, they lived in small groups and organized to attack their prey, using their long arms to squeeze the neck of the prey and drive their huge claw in the windpipe, the projection of which was lethal.

Allosaurus or allosaurus: characteristics

We continue to analyze some examples of carnivorous dinosaurs and stop at the gigantic Allosaurus (strange reptile) , which was one of the carnivorous dinosaurs that were abundant in North America. Their fossil remains indicate that they existed from the Cretaceous, in the Upper Jurassic.

Characteristics of the Allosaurus

The skull of an adult specimen was up to 90 centimeters long, and had numerous serrated teeth that border the entire jaw. They had strong claws on the feet and hands, which served to hold the prey once knocked down and easily tear it apart.

What did the Allosaurus eat

It is still a mystery to know the prey and predatory habits of the Allosaurus, since its remains indicate that it was not made for fast pursuit, since it was very large and heavy-footed. Their diet probably consisted of larger ornithischians and sauropods (quadruped herbivorous dinosaurs), such as Camptosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Stegosaurus.

Spinosaurus or spinosaurus: characteristics

The spinosaurids or Spinosaurus (reptiles with spines) are an interesting group of carnosaurs that developed long dorsal spines, which supported a sail-shaped skin structure. It was one of the great theropods that inhabited North Africa, Europe and Brazil, during the Upper Cretaceous.

Characteristics of the Spinosaurus

They reached 15 meters in wingspan and their most outstanding feature is the presence of long dorsal spines that reached 1.80 meters . These spines formed a sail-shaped skin structure that, hypothetically, served the Spinosaurus as a radiator, allowing it to heat its blood quickly when the sun hit it, or on the contrary, to dissipate heat when it received direct light. Another possible function of their long spines is that they would serve as a behavioral signal to recognize each other between partners or rivals. The skull of these dinosaurs also stands out, similar to that of a current crocodile , with a high number of strongly curved teeth.

What did the Spinosaurus eat

Its flattened and elongated snout suggests that it had scavenging habits, so that it was used to reach the entrails, as well as the use of its large claw to gut the corpses. However, it is also possible that they had piscivorous habits, and they used their conical teeth to catch fish, just as current crocodiles do. Also, the huge claw on its thumb would help to catch prey as elusive as fish.

Examples of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs – names and pictures

The largest carnivorous dinosaurs were large and burly, with very firm and robust hind legs; while the front ones were weaker and their huge heads were supported by a short and powerful neck. Here is a list with names and images of the largest and most fearsome carnivorous dinosaurs :

  • Tyrannosaurus rex (14 m)
  • Allosaurus (12 m)
  • Saurophaganax (10 m)
  • Kronosaurus (10 m)
  • Megalosaurus (9m)
  • Albertosaurus (9 m)
  • Daspletosaurus (9 m)

Examples of small carnivorous dinosaurs – names and pictures

As for the smaller carnivorous dinosaurs, they had thin legs, long arms, and small heads. In addition, they had round eyes that allowed them to hunt small mammals at dusk. The best known small carnivorous dinosaurs are:

  • Compsognathus (70 cm – 1,4 m)
  • Segisaurus (1 m)
  • Ornitholestes (2 m)
  • Saurornithoides (2 m)
  • Stenonychosaurus (2 m)
  • Deinonychus (3 m)
  • Coelophysis (3 m)

Carnivorous dinosaurs from Jurassic Park and Jurassic World – list of examples

To finish, we leave you a summary of the names of carnivorous dinosaurs from Jurassic Park and Jurassic World .

  • Tyranosaurus Rex
  • Velociraptor
  • Spinosaurus
  • Baryonyx
  • Suchomimus
  • Ceratosaurus
  • Metriacanthosaurus
  • Gallimimus
  • Pteranodon (not a dinosaur, but a flying reptile)
  • Dimorphodon (not a dinosaur, but a flying reptile)
  • Mosasaurus (it was not a dinosaur, but a marine reptile)
  • Indominus Rex (fictional dinosaur from Jurassic World)
  • Indoraptor (fictional dinosaur from Jurassic World)

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