Coelophysis Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Coelophysis
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Coelophysis



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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Saurischia
  Suborder Theropoda
  Infraorder Coelophysoidea
  Family Coelophysidae
  Genus Coelophysis
Coelophysis was a small, 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) tall, dinosaur that lived in North America in the late Triassic period, about 225 to 220 million years ago. It is in fact one of the earliest known dinosaurs.

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 Timeline:

Coelophysis was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 225 to 220 million years ago

Coelophysis was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived from 225 to 220 million years ago

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Coelophysis Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Coelophysis:
  1. Coelophysis was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "Coelophysis" means "hollow form" (referring to its hollow bones). This name was chosen by Edward D. Cope in 1889.

  3. Coelophysis was a member of the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Coelophysis was not closely related to lizards, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.

  4. Coelophysis was a Theropod - a member of a group of related bipedal dinosaurs that included the ancestors of birds (although Coelophysis was not itself an ancestor of birds).

  5. Coelophysis lived between about 225 million years ago and 220 million years ago, during the Triassic period.

  6. Coelophysis lived in North America.

  7. Coelophysis was a carnivore (meat-eater).

  8. Coelophysis may have been a cannibal. The evidence for this is fossilized remains of supposedly juvenile animals found "within" larger animals. However, in recent years, a number of scientists argue that such evidence has been misinterpreted, and there is no reason to believe that Coelophysis was a cannibal.

  9. Coelophysis was about 8 feet (2.4 meters) to 10 feet (3 meters) tall.

  10. Coelophysis weighed about 100 pounds (45 kilograms).

  11. Coelophysis is the official state fossil of New Mexico.

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