All About the Allosaurus: The Different Lizard


Photo: libre de droit via Getty Images

Allosaurus was a dinosaur that roamed the planet during the Jurassic Period. They were one of the largest land predators of their time and could grow up to 30 feet long.

Allosaurus was a carnivore, meaning it primarily ate meat. Allosaurus was agile and quick despite their size, making them formidable predators.

Allosaurus fossils have been discovered across North America, Europe, and Asia. Overall, they are considered one of the most successful dinosaurs in history.

Learn more about the Allosaurus and its fascinating history in this blog post.

Description and Appearance

The Allosaurus was a theropod dinosaur that lived 150-144 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period. It was one of the largest predators of its time, with some individuals reaching lengths of over 12 meters (35 feet).

Allosaurus had a well-developed tail that made up half of its body length. Like all theropod dinosaurs, it was a bipedal creature. Allosaurus weighed around two tons on average and had a very muscular build.

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Its head was large and triangular-shaped, with powerful jaws that contained sharp teeth. Allosaurs also had long, sharp claws on their hands and feet to hunt and kill prey.

Allosaurus was a very successful dinosaur, with its fossils being discovered on every continent except Antarctica.

Diet

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Allosaurus was a carnivore, which means that it mainly ate meat. It is believed that Allosaurus hunted in packs and primarily preyed on giant herbivorous dinosaurs, such as Diplodocus and Apatosaurus.

They would use their sharp claws and teeth to tear into the flesh of their prey. Allosaurus would then swallow its food whole, bones and all.

Allosaurus also scavenged for food and was known to fight other carnivores over carcasses.

Reproduction

We know very little about how Allosaurus reproduced. However, we know that they were egg-layers and that their eggs were probably similar to those of other theropod dinosaurs.

Allosaurus reproduced through internal fertilization. After mating, the female Allosaurus would lay a clutch of eggs which she would then incubate.

The young Allosaurus would hatch fully-grown and independent, meaning they did not need their parents to take care of them.

It is thought that Allosaurus reached sexual maturity at around ten years old. Once they reached adulthood, they could live for up to 20 years.

The Allosaurus was a very successful dinosaur and was one of the most common predators. However, they went extinct around 145 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous period.

There are many theories as to why the Allosaurus went extinct, but the most likely cause is a change in climate and the rise of new predators.

Distribution

Allosaurus fossils have been found on every continent except Antarctica. They were most common in North America and Europe during the Late Jurassic period.

Fossils of Allosaurus have also been found in Asia, including China and Mongolia. It is thought that they were less common in Asia than in other parts of the world.

Allosaurus lived in various habitats, including forests, jungles, and grasslands. They were probably most common in upland areas, such as mountains and plateaus.

During the Late Jurassic period, the world was generally warm and wet. This allowed for the growth of large plants and animals, which made up the food supply for Allosaurus.

As the climate changed and became drier, many large plants and animals went extinct. This may have contributed to the extinction of Allosaurus as well.

Allosaurus was a social creature and is thought to have lived in packs. These packs consisted of related individuals, such as parents and their offspring.

Allosaurus communicated with each other through vocalizations, body language, and scent markers. They used these methods to speak about food, territory, and potential mates.

Allosaurus was a very successful predator. However, it was also known to scavenge for food and fight with other carnivores over carcasses.

Discovery

Photo: Daniel Eskridge via Getty Images

The first fossils of Allosaurus were discovered in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh. He found them in the Morrison Formation, a rock formation stretching from Wyoming to Utah.

Marsh believed that Allosaurus was related to the Megalosaurus, another dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period. However, we now know that Allosaurus is not closely related to Megalosaurus.

Since its discovery, many more fossils of Allosaurus have been found. These fossils have helped us understand this dinosaur's anatomy and behavior.

Other Interesting Facts

The Allosaurus is one of the most famous dinosaurs due to its size and ferocity. Let's get you started.

  1. Allosaurus Means "Different Lizard"

Allosaurus comes from the Greek words allos, meaning "different," and sauros, meaning "lizard." This name was given to the Allosaurus by paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1877.

  1. Allosaurus Was First Described in 1877

American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh first described Allosaurus in 1877. At the time, Marsh was working at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and came across some fossilized bones of the Allosaurus while excavating in Wyoming.

  1. The Allosaurus Was One of the Largest Carnivorous Dinosaurs

Allosaurus was one of the giant carnivorous dinosaurs during the Late Jurassic period. Some individuals could reach over 12 meters (35 feet) and weigh two tons.

  1. Allosaurus Had a Powerful Bite

One of the most interesting facts about the Allosaurus was its mighty bite. Studies have shown that the Allosaurus had a bite force of 6,000 pounds per square inch (psi). The average human bite has a pressure of around 200 psi, to put this into perspective.

  1. Allosaurus Was a Bipedal Dinosaur

Allosaurus was a bipedal dinosaur, meaning that it walked on two legs. Its long tail helped to counterbalance its body and keep it upright.

  1. Allosaurus Could Run Up to speeds of 40 mph.

Despite its large size, the Allosaurus was quite agile and could run at up to 40 mph (64 km/h).

  1. Allosaurus Had Sharp Claws and Teeth

The Allosaurus had sharp claws on its hands and feet, used to kill its prey. Its teeth were also razor-sharp and serrated, perfect for tearing flesh.

  1. Allosaurus Was a Carnivore

The Allosaurus was a carnivore, meaning that it primarily ate meat. The Allosaurus hunted in packs and would work together to take down larger prey.

  1. Allosaurus Lived on Every Continent except Antarctica

Allosaurus were very successful dinosaurs, and their fossils have been found on every continent except Antarctica. This suggests that they could adapt to a wide range of environments.

  1. There is Still Much We Don’t Know about Allosaurus.

Despite being one of the most famous dinosaurs, there is still much that we don't know about Allosaurus.

For example, we're not sure how long they lived or exactly how they reproduced. However, every new Allosaurus fossil found helps us piece together a complete picture of this fantastic creature.

Although little is known about Allosaurus' behavior, it is clear that they were strong and adaptable dinosaurs.

Final Thoughts

The Allosaurus was a large, bipedal carnivore that lived during the Late Jurassic period. Although we still have much to learn about this incredible creature, its fossils have helped us piece together a picture of its anatomy and behavior.

If you want to learn more about Allosaurus, many resources are available online and in libraries. You can also visit your local natural history museum to see if they have any fossils on display.

If you found this article interesting, check out our other articles on dinosaurs!

Cheers!

~GB


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