Period of life:
North America, South Africa
Coelophysis is a small, fast Late Triassic dinosaur, inhabited North America and South Africa territory about 203 million years ago. Its first fossils were found in 1881 in the northwestern part of New Mexico. The dinosaur name means “hollow form,” as the skeletal structure included hollow limb bones and vertebrae.
Coelophysis was the first dinosaur recovered and properly described by paleontologists. Having a light bone structure, it was capable of swift start and decent running speed. This made the reptile a ruthless predator capable of snapping even the smallest insects. The hawk vision compliments the picture.
The reptile was 3 metres long, up to 1 metre high and 30 kilograms weight. Narrow jaws were packed with sharp and spiky teeth perfect for snapping and pinning a prey stretched from a skull. The reptile distinctive feature was a furcula (“little fork” in Latin or wishbone) chest bone similar to that of living birds.
Small reptiles, mammals, fish, silesaurids, and crurotarsi were the main feed, however, it could include insects and did not reject, carrion. Once the fossils of an offspring in the abdominal area recovery sparkled a theory of Coelophysis being a cannibal. The hypothesis went through acceptance and denial with the new specimen skeletons, containing Hesperosuchus reptile or again Coelophysis’ offspring remains, unearthed.