The Afrovenator, “African Hunter,” was a large, megalosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived in what is now North Africa during the Middle Jurassic Period, approximately 167 million years ago. It is known from a relatively complete skeleton featuring most of the skull, parts of the vertebral column, a partial pelvis, and much of the limbs. This African dinosaur was a fearsome predator and one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs found on the continent.

Key Facts

Afrovenator pronunciationaf-ro-vee-NAY-tor
What does Afrovenator mean?African Hunter
Dinosaur typeTheropod
On the menuCarnivorous
Length8 meters
Height3.5 meters
Weight1 ton
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speedUnknown
When they livedMiddle Jurassic, 166 million years ago
Where they have been found?Niger, North Africa

When & Where

The first-ever and only remains of the Afrovenator were discovered in 1993 in the TiourarĂ©n Formation of Niger’s Agadez region in northern Africa by the French paleontologist Paul Sereno. The bones were scattered over 50 square meters and were later pieced together to create a relatively complete skeleton.

Size & Weight

The Afrovenator was a large theropod, measuring approximately 8 meters (26 feet) in length and weighing around 1 ton. Its build was similar to that of other theropods, such as the Allosaurus and Spinosaurus. To date, it remains one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs found on the African continent.

Mobility & Diet

The Afrovenator was a carnivore and would have used its sharp teeth and powerful jaws for hunting and killing prey. Scientists believed it fed on large animals, such as the sauropod Jobaria, which lived in the same area at the same time. It is thought that the Afrovenator may have even hunted and killed the juveniles of this large herbivore.

Although its exact top speed is unknown, the Afrovenator was a fast and agile dinosaur. It was bipedal, meaning it walked on two legs and would have used its long tail for balance as it ran after prey.

Interesting Points

  • The forelimbs of the Afrovenator were shorter than its hind limbs, which is typical of theropod dinosaurs. However, its arms were still quite muscular and ended in three-fingered pointed claws, which would have been deadly weapons.
  • Afrovenator fossils can be found today at the Museum of Chicago.
  • The Afrovenator had sharp blade-like teeth that were up to 5 cm long.

Featured Image Credit: PaleoEquii, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons