The Dilophosaurus is a carnivorous dinosaur that lived around 193 million years ago. They were one of the first Jurassic theropods (carnivorous dinosaurs that stand on two legs), yet scientists know very little about them. They have been found in both North America and Asia.
The first Dilophosaurus skeleton was found in 1942 in Arizona by palaeontologist Sam Welles. However, it was not until 1952 that they were officially named. Like many dinosaurs, their name is Greek; it roughly translates to “Two Crested Lizard”. As their name implies, Dilophosaurus has two crests on their heads.
Many people recognize the Dilophosaurus from the 1993 blockbuster movie “Jurassic Park”. In the movie, the Dilophosaurus was portrayed as a small predator, but the movie did not show the Dilophosaurus’ correct size. Dilophosaurus were actually 8-9 feet tall; around 20 feet long and weighed around half a ton. The movie also portrayed them as having a frill, but there is no scientific proof that Dilophosaurus had a frill; it is actually more reasonable that they did not have one. As they were large predators for their time period they would not of needed a frill to make themselves look larger and scarier. They also did not need a frill to attract mates, as scientists believe they had brightly coloured crests to do that. The movie also portrayed Dilophosaurus as being able to spit venom; this may or may nor be accurate. Some scientists believe that as the dinosaur had weak jaws that they may have had venom sacs hidden in their teeth, or had toxic saliva similar to a Komodo dragon. It is believed that the Dilophosaurus would attack their prey with their sharp claws and then if they had venom or toxic saliva they would bite their prey, and then wait for it to die.
As Dilophosaurus were large dinosaurs for their time period, they were apex predators. They hunted small dinosaurs, fish, lizards, dinosaur eggs, and they bullied smaller predators off of their kills. Scientists believe that they would of also occasionally hunted dinosaurs that were similar or larger in size to themselves. As Dilophosaurus were apex predators, they were not prey to many other dinosaurs; however, they were hunted by packs of Megapnosaurus and by larger Dilophosaurus.
Unlike many of the dinosaurs, scientists know relatively little about the Dilophosaurus. Hopefully, in years to come they will be able to tell us more about these amazing and unusual dinosaurs.
Posted with STEMGeeks