Coelophysis bauri

  • Pronounced:  see - low - FI - sis

  • Diet:  Carnivore (meat-eater)

  • Name Means:  "hollow form"

  • Length:  10 feet (3 m)

  • Height:  4 feet (1.3 m)

  • Weight:  66 pounds (30 kilos)

  • Time:  Late Triassic - 220 mya

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in Southwestern United States

Coelophysis is a very well known early dinosaur as scientists have discovered hundreds of skeletons of this meat-eater. It is the oldest dinosaur known in North America. It was a swift hunter that seemed to eat almost anything it could catch - including other Coelophysis! Some of the skeletons found in New Mexico had the remains of other Coelophysis in their stomachs, making it a cannibalistic dinosaur.

Coelophysis could get fairly large for an early dinosaur, with adults ranging in size from 5 to 10 feet. These sizes are generally divided into two specimen types - robust and graceful- and are thought to represent gender differentiation. Being a basal (one of the first) therapod, it had some characteristics that were lost on later members of the therapod family. It still had four fingers, although the fourth digit was quite small.

The remains of hundreds of individuals were found at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, which provided scientists with an unprecedented opportunity to study the individual differences within a large herd of the same dinosaurs.

Like other early carnivores, Coelophysis had many small, sharp teeth. As is shown by the vast numbers of individuals at Ghost Ranch, it is evident that early dinosaurs exhibited social behavior to the extent of congregating in large herds. The exact purpose of this large gathering is not known, but some scientists feel that it may have been breeding season.

Coelophysis is at the base of the family tree of a great many dinosaurs including all the Dilophosaurs, Oviraptor  , Ornithomimids and the ever-popular "raptor" family, which includes Velociraptor  Utahraptor  and Deinonychus 

Note that the original type material, which may or may not belong to the same kind of animal as those later found at Ghost Ranch, has been given its own (disputed) genus: Eucoelophysis ("true Coelophysis").

A Coelophysis skull became the first dinosaur fossil to be taken into space in January, 1998 when the Space Shuttle "Endeavor" carried a specimen from the Carnegie Museum to the Mir Space Station.

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