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Carnotaurus Facts: The Big Picture of The Meat-Eating Bull

a two-horned dinosaur with short arms in a forest

Source by: Serafima Lazarenko 

The dinosaur with short arms, the meat-eating bull — there are plenty of names that the Carnotaurus goes by. And that means, there are plenty of interesting things about it too!

That’s why we didn’t dare miss out on having a lifelike carnotaurus costume in our roster of dinosaur suits. It’s too awesome to miss!

So you don’t miss out too, we’ll be sharing gripping carnotaurus facts in this short blog post. You’ll get to know this awesome South American dinosaur through its looks (yes, short arms included!), its habitat, and how it lived its prehistoric life.

Are you ready to rampage back into the Mesozoic Era with the awesome carnotaurus? Let’s go!

Carnotaurus 101: What is a Carnotaurus?

a two-horned red-brown dinosaur

Source by: Only Dinosaurs

A carnotaurus is a three-toed dinosaur that belongs to a family of carnivorous bipedal dinosaurs. In scientific terms, it’s a theropod dinosaur that’s an abelisaurid. Here are more interesting facts about this prehistoric creature.

What is the Carnotaurus Known for?

a dinosaur skeleton on display with two horns on its skull

Source by: Jens Lallensack

The carnotaurus is famous for its excellently preserved skeleton discovered by Jose Bonaparte in 1984 at Pocho Sastre, Chubut Province, Argentina. Bonaparte and his team found the skeleton in the usual dinosaur death pose. It was lying on its right side with the neck thrown backward.

What made the discovery so astounding was the skeleton’s completeness and articulation. The parts found were nearly everything from head to toe. The only parts missing were small portions of the tail, leg, and hind feet.

The availability of the dinosaur’s parts and how the pieces were still connected to each other enabled scientists to study the dinosaur well. The studies from this skeleton gave us the carnotaurus facts we enjoy today.

What Does Carnotaurus Mean?

side view shot of a bull-horned dinosaur skull in a black background

Source by: Julian Fong

Here are two carnotaurus facts to help you understand its name – which means “meat-eating bull” – more easily:

  • carno is Latin for “flesh”
  • taurus is Latin for “bull”
  • sastrei is in honor of Angel Sastre, the ranch owner of the place where the fossils were found

We get to see here that the carnotaurus was a carnivore. Paleontologists were able to identify that it ate meat because of the shape of its jaws.

They hypothesize that it preyed on gigantic long-necked dinosaurs and small ones too. A bite force twice as strong as an American alligator’s gave the carnotaurus an edge when hunting prey.

Wondering how you can make it happen yourself? You can make a thrilling hunting scene happen with a realistic animatronic carnotaurus that moves and roars just like a real dinosaur.

When Did the Carnotaurus Live?

illustration of a prehistoric landscape with tropical trees, islands, and bodies of water

Source by: F. Guillén

The carnotaurus lived during the Late Cretaceous period about 83 million years ago. Some scientists believe it may have lived later, around 72 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Maastrichtian stage. This made the carnotaurus the newest abelisaurid known at the time it was discovered.

Where Did the Carnotaurus Live?

a landscape with shallow bodies of water surrounded by land, shrubs, and rock formations

Now, where exactly did it live? The carnotaurus habitat was the supercontinent Gondwana. It lived in its southern pieces of land that had a good mix of coastal plains and tidal flats making up the dinosaur’s residence. The weather where it lived was seasonally dry and sometimes humid.

Other animals who lived with the carnotaurus were mammals like docodonts, snakes, lizards, and rat-like creatures. Seaside animals were lungfish, crocodiles, and plesiosaurs.

Breaking Down the Carnotaurus Facts: Arms, Skin, Horns, & Speed

animated gray bull-horned dinosaur biting and roaring at a man and woman

Source by: Jurassic World

Carnotaurus Forelimbs: The Dinosaur with Short Arms

a very short dinosaur arm with four digits

Source by: Carpenter, Kenneth

Its short arms are probably the Carnotaurus’ most puzzling physical features. They seem out of proportion with its large body and fearsome head.

They’re even shorter than a T. rex’s! The carnotaurus’ arms measure only a mere quarter of the tyrannosaur’s. The arms’ shortness is also what sets the carnotaurus apart in the Abelisauridae family.

To add to the mystery, its fingers don’t seem to have any function at all. Scientists discovered that the fingers were fused or stuck together. Additionally, claws are absent too.

But all hope isn’t lost for those trying to wrap their heads around the dinosaur with short arms. A study by scientist Phil Senter in the Journal of Zoology proposes that the carnotaurus’ arms may be “vestigial”. This means that this bullish carnivorous dinosaur may have inherited its short limbs from its ancestors but lost its ability to move along the way.

Carnotaurus Skin

fossil of a dinosaur tail with hollowed marks on the surface

Source by: Rafael Delcourt

What’s so exciting about carnotaurus skin? Well, scientists can’t make commercial goods from them but it does tell them a lot about how a dinosaur looked and survived.

Research has discovered that the carnotaurus’ skin impressions were polygonal scales that didn’t overlap. The skin’s surface was hummock-like and was characterized by grooves, openings, and pits. But it lacked feathers unlike the T. rex, which was its counterpart up in the north.

These traits show that the carnotaurus rocked scaly skin. It had large scales on its torso, shoulders, and tail. The carnotaurus’ skin helped the dinosaur manage its body heat which was helpful considering its active way of living.

Carnotaurus Horns

fossil of a dinosaur head

Source by: Thesupermat

Did you know that the carnotaurus is the only bipedal dinosaur sporting a pair of horns on its head? That’s interesting. But a more interesting question is why did the Carnotaurus have horns? 

There isn’t a clear answer yet but here are four possible reasons suggested by scientists:

  • shoving or slowly headbutting rival carnotauruses during fights
  • killing or injuring animals deemed as prey
  • a display used during courtship/mating
  • used to help recognize species members

Carnotaurus Speed

graphic illustration of a dinosaur tail’s muscle and bones

Source by: Persons, W. S.; Currie, P. J.

Thinking how fast can a Carnotaurus run? This prehistoric carnivore can run as fast as 56 kilometers per hour making it one of the fastest theropods in the large dinosaur category.

And that’s all thanks to its large caudafemoralis. It’s the muscle found in the tail. Besides that, its V-shaped caudal ribs gave the large muscle the space to exist. These two enabled the carnotaurus to run fast as they worked together.

The Importance of Carnotaurus Facts

low angle photo of a bull-horned dinosaur skull and neck on display

Source by: Falcon_33

We don’t know about you, but the facts about this two-legged carnivore are pretty awesome. So awesome that Steven Spielberg even cast the carnotaurus in a TV show called Terra Nova. It’s also one of the protagonists in the Disney film, Dinosaurs.

On a more serious note, these carnotaurus facts are important because it helps us understand the dinosaur fauna in South America. These give us a clearer picture of what the world was like back in their time. How they survived, what kind of food sustained them, where they lived — these all give us a greater understanding of our world today, more importantly.

an orange and red carnotaurus running on the ground

Source by: Isle.fandom

That’s why the carnotaurus and the facts about its life are important. That’s why the dinosaurs you’re fascinated in and are studying are worth giving your time to.

So we hope you learned a lot from this blog post! We hope you got a better idea of how you can bring the carnotaurus to life at your events too.

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