Dinosaurs: Compsognathus


Compsognathus (Pretty Jaw)

Compsognathus became well known from being featured in "Lost World: Jurassic Park 2." It was one of the smallest dinosaurs we know about. This little hunter probably ate bugs and small lizards. In fact, the first fossil skeleton of this dinosaur had the remains of its last meal, a lizard, still in its stomach.

Compsognathus is one of those dinosaurs around which some controversy swirls. Some paleontologists feel that, like the much larger Tyrannosaurus, the little Compy had only two fingers. Others feel strongly that it had three. Since there are only two known fossils, and the bones are not perfectly preserved in an articulated (as they were in life) manner, it may take more discoveries to solve this issue.

Compsognathus is considered an important link in the study of bird evolution. The original fossil of this dinosaur was found in the same place as Archeopteryx, the early feathered reptile. Compy shares a number of characteristics with this creature, but Compys do not appear to have feathers. This is one of those interesting dinosaurs where scientists hope to find more specimens to learn the answers to many questions.




compsognathus size


Pronounced: KOMP-SOW-NAY-thus

Name Means: "Pretty Jaw"
Length: 4 feet 6 in (1.4 m)
Height: 1 foot (0.3 m)
Weight: 6 pounds (3 kg)
Diet: Carnivore (Insects, Lizards, Meat)
Time: Late Jurassic
Habitat: Desert Island
Fossils Found: Europe



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