Mesozoic Era Cretaceous Period Dinosaurs Carnotaurus


Quick Facts
Name Meaning:Meat Eating Bull
Time Period:Cretaceous, 90 Ma
Length:25 ft (8 m)
Height:9 ft (2.7 m)
Weight:620 lbs
Linnaean Classification
Cladistic Classification
  • Dinosauria
    • Saurischia
      • Theropoda
        • Ceratosauria
          • Neoceratosauria
            • Abelisauroidea
              • Abelisauria
                • Abelisauridae
                  • Carnotaurinae
                    • Carnotaurus


The Carnotaurus is known from only one specimen found in the Patagonia in Argentina by José Bonaparte. This discovery made in 1985 was nearly complete and included a fossilized skin sample covering almost the entire right side of the dinosaur. This discovery and the discovery of evolutionarily similar dinosaurs in Madagascar and India is one suggestion that the continents were once connected. The Carnotaurus was featured in Michael Crichton's book The Lost World, sequel to the famed Jurassic Park. It was also featured in Disney's movie Dinosaur as the primary predator hunting the Iguanodon, although this version of the Carnotaurus was significantly scaled up to appear more deadly.


The Carnotaurus was bipedal and had a relatively long neck compared to others of similar build. Its most distinguishing feature is the pair of bull-like horns located on its forehead. These may have been used for mating or for competition. It had sharp teeth splayed out to the sides and a box shaped head. Its bite was probably weaker than other carnivores like the Allosaurus but it would also have been a faster bite. The discovered skin sample showed that the Carnotaurus did not have feathers but pebbly skin. The pebbles also appear to grow larger near the spine. Like the Tyrannosaurus it had very short forearms with four fingers that were claw-less and fused together.

ScienceViews Writer: Jason Hamilton.

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