Fossil range: Triassic-Jurassic
Coelophysis-bauri head
Profile of Coelophysis.
Conservation status
Extinct (fossil)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Superfamily: Coelophysoidea
Nopcsa, 1928

See text.

Coelophysoids were common dinosaur of the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic periods. They were widespread geographically, probably living on all continents. Coelophysoids were all slender, carnivorous forms with a superficial similarity to the coelurosaurs, which they were formerly classified with, and some species had delicate cranial crests. Sizes range from about 1 to 6 m in length. It is unknown what kind of external covering coelophysoids had, and various artists have portrayed them as either scaly or feathered. Some species may have lived in packs, as inferred from sites where numerous individuals have been found together.

Well-known examples of coelophysoids include Coelophysis (=?"Syntarsus"), Liliensternus, and possibly Dilophosaurus. Most dinosaurs formerly referred to the dubious taxon "Podokesauridae" are now classified as coelophysoids.


Despite their very early occurrence in the fossil record, coelophysoids have a number of dervived features that separate them from primitive (basal) theropods . Among the most prominent of these derived features (apomorphies) is the way the upper jaw bones are connected (the premaxilla-maxilla articulation), which is flexible with a deep gap between the teeth in the two bones. A major source of disagreement among theropod experts is whether or not coelophysoids shared a more recent common ancestor with Ceratosauria (sensu stricto) than the ceratosaurs did with other theropods.



  • Rauhut and Hungerbuhler (2000). "A review of European Triassic theropods." Gaia, 15: 75-88.
  • Tykoski, R. S. (2005). "Anatomy, Ontogeny, and Phylogeny of Coelophysoid Theropods." Ph. D dissertation.
  • Yates, A.M., 2006 (for 2005). "A new theropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of South Africa and its implications for the early evolution of theropods." Palaeontologia Africana, 41: 105-122.

External links

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Coelophysoidea. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Paleontology Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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