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Dilophosaurus (H. Kyoht Luterman)


Dilophosaurus (Greek for "two-ridged lizard"); pronounced die-LOAF-oh-SORE-us


Riverbanks of Asia and North America

Historical Period:

Early Jurassic (200-190 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 20 feet long and 1,000 pounds


Meat and fish

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Semicircular ridges on head; slim build


About Dilophosaurus:

Among the earliest theropod dinosaurs, Dilophosaurus was also one the least threatening (unless, of course, you happened to be a small, quivering herbivore of the early Jurassic period). This meat-eater was slightly built, with a much more slender frame than the thick, relatively plodding body plans of later, larger theropods like Allosaurus. Presumably, it made up in speed what it lacked in sheer bulk. (See 10 Facts About Dilophosaurus, a gallery of Dilophosaurus pictures, and an article explaining how Dilophosaurus was discovered.)

As for the distinctive crests over Dilophosaurus' eyes, paleontologists believe these were sexually selected--that is, males with bigger, more noticeable crests had a better chance of mating with females. Although sexual selection may or may not explain similar features on other dinosaurs, when it comes to Dilophosaurus, this theory is on much better ground--since only some fossils (presumably the males) have been found to bear these crests. (By the way, despite what you saw in Jurassic Park, there's absolutely no reason to believe Dilophosaurus spit poison at its enemies before zooming in for the kill, or had an expandable, fluttering neck frill.)


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