The Abelisaurus was a genus of theropod dinosaurs that lived around 83–80 million years ago during the Campanian stage of the Upper Cretaceous period in what is now Argentina. 

There are few known fossils of the Abelisaurus, which makes it difficult to know much about this particular dinosaur. However, its close relatives, such as the Carnotaurus and Majungasaurus, provide scientists with some insight into what the Abelisaurus may have looked like and how it may have behaved.

Key Facts

Abelisaurus pronunciationAY-bell-ih-SORE-us
What does Abelisaurus mean?Abel’s Lizard
Dinosaur typeTheropod
On the menuCarnivorous
Length7 meters
HeightAround 2 meters
Weight2 tons
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speedUnknown
When they livedUpper Cretaceous era, 80-83 million years ago
Where they have been found?Argentina

When & Where

Argentine paleontologist Roberto Abel first described the Abelisaurus in 1980 from remains found in the Patagonian province of Comahue. The fossil was a partial skull with large window-like openings in the snout. As with other theropods, these openings may have been for increased airflow to the brain or to lighten the weight of the skull.

To date, these fossils of the Abelisaurus have only been found in South America, specifically in Argentina. The species name, comahuensis, refers to the Comahue region in which the fossils were found. The genus name, Abelisaurus, means “Abel’s lizard”, in honor of Roberto Abel.

Size & Weight

It was a large theropod, measuring about 7 meters (23 feet) long and weighing 2 tons. Not much is known about its specific weight or height, as only a partial skull has been found. However, it is estimated to have been similar in size to its close relatives, the Carnotaurus and Majungasaurus.

Mobility & Diet

Like other members of the abelisaurid family, the Abelisaurus was a bipedal dinosaur, meaning it walked on two legs. It is not known how fast the it could run, but it probably moved fairly quickly due to its smaller size.

When it comes to diet, the it was a carnivore, meaning it fed on other animals. Its teeth were sharp and serrated, which would have made it well-suited for tearing flesh.

Interesting Points

  • The Abelisaurus was the first abelisaurid to be discovered.
  • It is thought to have been at the top of the predator food chain in its ecosystem, feeding on titanosaurian sauropods like the Armagasaurus.
  • The Abelisaurus is thought to resemble a very small T. rex in appearance.
  • The Abelisaurus is one of the few dinosaurs whose skull has been found with evidence of scaly skin.

Featured Image Credit: Jordan Mallon, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons