Daemonosaurus (Greek for "evil lizard"); pronounced day-MON-oh-SORE-us
Woodlands of South America
Late Triassic (205 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 5 feet long and 25-50 pounds
Blunt snout with prominent teeth; two-legged posture
For over 60 years, the Ghost Ranch quarry in New Mexico was best known for yielding thousands of skeletons of Coelophysis, an early dinosaur of the late Triassic period. Now, Ghost Ranch has added to its mystique with the recent discovery of Daemonosaurus, a comparably sleek, two-legged meat-eater with a blunt snout and prominent teeth lining its upper jaw (hence the species name of this dinosaur, chauliodus, Greek for "buck-toothed"). Daemonosaurus almost certainly preyed on, and was preyed on by turn, by its more famous cousin, though it's uncertain which genus would have had the upper hand (or claw).
As primitive as it was compared to later theropods (like raptors and tyrannosaurs), Daemonosaurus was far from the earliest predatory dinosaur. It, and Coelophysis, descended from the very first theropods of South America (like Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus) that lived about 20 million years earlier. However, there are some tantalizing hints that Daemonosaurus was a transitional form between the basal theropods of the Triassic period and the more advanced genera of the ensuing Jurassic and Cretaceous; most notable in this regard were its teeth, which looked like scaled-down versions of T. Rex's massive choppers.