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Until the popular 1993 movie, Jurassic Park was released, we didn’t know much about this meat-eating dinosaur. And for the record, this beast was poorly represented in the movie.
Dilophosaurus lived during the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic Periods some millions of years ago. Dilophosaurus walked on its two feet, had very tiny legs that ensured it could run at a very high speed, and had short but powerful forelimbs with sharp claws.
The name “Dilophosaurus” means a two-crested lizard because it has a prominent crest on its head formed by two bony ridges. There are so many exciting facts, but poison-spitting, neck-fluttering abilities, as portrayed in the movie, were not part. Here are 12 interesting Dilophosaurus facts that you may want to know.
01. Dilophosaurus Probably Wasn’t Poisonous
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Remember in the Jurassic Park franchise, when that cute, curious little Dilophosaurus sprayed burning venom in the face of Wayne Knight, yeah? Well, guess what? It was all a fabrication.
Not only wasn’t the Dilophosaurus poisonous, but also there’s no credible evidence that any dinosaur of the Mesozoic Era was poisonous or deployed any toxins in its offensive or defensive mechanism.
There was briefly some buzz about the feathered dinosaur Sinornithosaurus, but it turned out that this carnivore’s “venom sacs” were displaced teeth.
Dilophosaurus, at over 20 feet long, was an unusually-large predator for its time. As such, it would’ve likely been plenty scary without producing poisonous, and there’s currently no substantial evidence that can support this spurt of artistic license.
02. It Lacked a Flashy Neck Frill
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Still, on the poor representation of this creature, Dilophosaurus had no neck frill. And in fact, there’s no reason to believe that the Dilophosaurus or any other meat-eating dinosaur possessed such a frill. However, since this soft-tissue anatomical feature wouldn’t have preserved well in the fossil record, there’s room for reasonable doubt.
Well, if there is anything, fans can at least credit Universal Pictures with getting the dinosaur’s bony head crests (mostly) right.
03. Much Bigger Than a Golden Retriever
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Unlike the cute, playful, dog-sized Dilophosaurus portrayed in the movie, this meat-eating animal grew to about 20 feet from head to tail and weighed around 1,000 pounds when fully grown, much bigger than giant bears alive today.
The only plausible explanation is that the Dilophosaurus in the movie may have been a juvenile or hatchling.
04. Named After Its Head Crests
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The most distinctive (natural) feature of the Dilophosaurus is the paired crests atop its skull, the function of which remains a mystery. Most likely, these crests were a sexually selected characteristic (that is, males with prominent spines were more attractive to females during mating season, helping to propagate this trait), or they helped members of the pack recognize each other from afar, assuming that the Dilophosaurus hunted or traveled in packs.
05. Its Teeth Were Unevenly-Anchored
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So much has been said about Dilophosaurus’ dentition. Towards the back of its upper jaw, several teeth are weakly-rooted, but those closer to the front appear significantly firmer. As a whole, many scientists claim, Dilophosaurus chompers weren’t strong enough for taking down larger prey despite the carnivore’s size.
06. Lived During the Early Jurassic Period
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There are many unusual things about the Dilophosaurus; one of them is that it lived in the early Jurassic period, 190 million to 200 million years ago, not a particularly productive time in terms of the fossil record. This means the North American Dilophosaurus was a relatively recent descendant of the first actual dinosaurs, which evolved in South America during the preceding Triassic period, about 230 million years ago. Quite interesting!
07. Classification Unsure
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A bewildering array of small- to medium-size theropod dinosaurs roamed the earth during the early Jurassic period, all of them, like the Dilophosaurus, related to the first dinosaurs from 30 million to 40 million years before. Some paleontologists classify the Dilophosaurus as a “ceratosaur” (akin to Ceratosaurus), while others peg it as a close relative of the highly numerous Coelophysis. One expert insists that the closest relative of the Dilophosaurus was the Antarctic Cryolophosaurus.
08. Not the Only "Lophosaurus''
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It isn’t as well known as the Dilophosaurus. Still, the Monolophosaurus (“single-crested lizard”) was a slightly smaller theropod dinosaur of late Jurassic Asia, closely related to the better-known Allosaurus. The earlier Triassic period witnessed the tiny, toothless Trilophosaurus (“three-crested lizard”), which wasn’t a dinosaur but a genus of archosaur, the family of reptiles from which dinosaurs evolved.
09. May Have Been Warm-Blooded
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A case can be made that the fleet, predatory theropod dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era were warm-blooded, akin to modern mammals, including human beings. Although there’s no direct evidence that the Dilophosaurus possessed feathers, a feature of many Cretaceous meat-eaters that points to an endothermic metabolism, there’s no compelling evidence against this hypothesis, except that feathered dinosaurs would have been rare on the ground during the early Jurassic period.
10. Healthy Feet Despite Its Weight
Source by: Only Dinosaurs
Some paleontologists insist that the most telling feature of any dinosaur fossil is its feet. In 2001, a team of researchers examined 60 separate metatarsal fragments attributed to the Dilophosaurus and found no evidence of any stress fractures, which indicates that this dinosaur was unusually light on its feet when hunting prey.
11. Once Known as a Species of Megalosaurus
Source by: dinoanimals
For over 100 years after it was named, Megalosaurus served as a “wastebasket” name for plain-vanilla theropods. Pretty much any dinosaur that resembled it was assigned to it as a separate species. In 1954, a dozen years after its fossil was discovered in Arizona, the Dilophosaurus was classified as a Megalosaurus species; much later, in 1970, the paleontologist unearthed the original “type fossil” finally coined the genus name Dilophosaurus.
12. It Might Have Been a Fish-Eater
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Needle-like, puncturing teeth may have helped Dilophosaurus snag wriggly, prehistoric fish. In this scenario, its high-set nostrils would have poked above the water’s surface should the creature ever decide to make a heron impression.
So, before we round up on some interesting facts about this fast-running dinosaur, below are 15 short dilophosaurus facts for your kids.
15 Quick Dilophosaurus Facts
- The Dilophosaurus was a medium-sized dinosaur and one of the first large predatory dinosaurs.
- The Dilophosaurus was discovered in 1940 by Jesse Williams in Navajo County, Arizona, USA.
- The Dilophosaurus got its scientific name Dilophosaurus wetherilli in 1954 from Samuel P. Wells.
- The name Dilophosaurus means: “Two-Crested Lizard.”
- The name Dilophosaurus is pronounced: “dye-LO-fuh-SAWR-us.”
- The Dilophosaurus was part of a group of dinosaurs known as Theropods.
- They lived in the Early Jurassic Period around 193 million years ago.
- The Dilophosaurus holotype specimen (UCMP 37302) weighed 624 pounds and was 19.8 feet in length.
- The largest Dilophosaurus specimen ever recovered weighed 880 pounds and was 23 in length.
- The Dilophosaurus was an active carnivore, and paleontologists believe they may have hunted dinosaurs as giant as prosauropods.
- The Dilophosaurus had a total of 33 teeth based on fossilized skull remains.
- The Dilophosaurus had 16 teeth in its upper jaw and 17 in its lower jaw.
- In 2017, American paleontologists Milner and James Kirkland suggested some of the features of the Dilophosaurus indicated that it could have eaten fish and other marine animals.
- In 2017, Connecticut designated the Dilophosaurus as their state dinosaur.
- The Dilophosaurus was featured in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park, a movie adaption of Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel Jurassic Park.
FAQs About Dilophosaurus
Is Dilophosaurus a Well-known Dinosaur?
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It became more well-known after it was featured in the first Jurassic Park movie. It was portrayed inaccurately in the film, though. It didn’t have a large fringe around its neck, and it probably couldn’t spit venom.
Where Did Dilophosaurus Live?
It lived in the Jurassic period and inhabited Asia and North America.
What Did Dilophosaurus Eat?
Like most theropods, Dilophosaurus was a meat-eater. Its teeth were long – especially those of the upper jaw – and sharp, and its powerful arms and clawed hands could grab prey.
When Did Dilophosaurus Live?
About 193 million years ago
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And that’s a wrap on dilophosaurus facts! And no, this is not exhaustive. However, we believe you now know more about this beast. And hopefully, you could go on to release a movie that better represents this extinct beast.
Are you a fan of dilophosaurus already? Then it would help if you got a dilophosaurus for yourself and your kids. We also have the products of other dinosaurs too, do well to check them out and bring home your favorite.