A large, carnivorous dinosaur that lived in the late Jurassic. Specimens have been found in North America and East Africa. The name means "horned lizard;" species of this genus include the Ceratosaurus nasicornus ("nose-horned horned lizard," seems redundant), C. dentisulcatus, C. ingens (originally considered a Megalosaurus), C. magnicornis, C. meriani, (also formerly Megalosaurus) and C. roechlingi.

Resembling the Allosaurus in size and general shape, the Ceratosaurus grew up to 6 meters long and weighed about a ton. It was a biped with bulky, powerful legs and tail, and underdeveloped arms. Its mouth was filled with large, very sharp teeth, and the top of its skull featured short, blade-shaped horns above the nose and eyes. Yes, it looked quite demonic.

The purpose of the horns is a matter of speculation. They may have been secondary sexual characteristic, used similarly to a deer's antlers, or possibly an aid for the young to hatch from their eggs.

Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Infraorder: Ceratosauria
Family: Ceratosauridae

Cer`a*to*sau"rus (?), n. [NL., fr. Gr. a horn + lizard.] Paleon.

A carnivorous American Jurassic dinosaur allied to the European Megalosaurus. The animal was nearly twenty feet in length, and the skull bears a bony horn core on the united nasal bones. See Illustration in Appendix.


© Webster 1913.

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