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The first discovery of the remains of Coelophysis was in 1881 by an amateur fossil collector named David Baldwin. The name Coelophysis was coined by Edward D. Cope in 1889, and means "hollow form", in reference to the animal's hollow bones.
In 1947, at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, about a dozen Coelophysis fossils were found together, which suggests they may have lived together in groups. An alternative (and not necessary incompatible) theory is that the animals were all killed in a flash flood which swept them away and buried them all together.
Fossilized stomach contents have also been found, and Coelophysis is known to have been a meat-eater, eating among other things, small reptiles and fish. There have also been suggestions that stomach contents may also have included other Coelophysis of different sizes, indicating that the animal was a cannibal - however other scientists have argued that this is not the case, and the material was actually fossils of other animals as well bones of group of Coelophysis that had simply been mixed together.
Coelophysis has been designated the official state fossil of New Mexico, since 1981.
Coelophysis was the second dinosaur in space, when the space shuttle Endeavour carried a Coelophysis skull to the Mir space station, in 1998.
Coelophysis was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 225 to 220 million years ago
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