Camptosaurus

Camptosaurus is a plant-eating and beaked ornithischian dinosaur. Numerous fossils suggest that it is one of the most common dinosaurs of its time. It’s very well known as a flexible lizard whose remains were recovered in 1989. Camptusaurus belongs to the suborder Cerapoda and clad Ornithopoda. 

Key Facts

DomainDescription
Camptosaurus pronunciationkamp-toh-sore-us
What does Camptosaurus mean?The Camptosaurus name means “flexible lizard” which came from the Greek words Hamptons meaning “bent” and sauros which means “lizard”. Making it also known as “bent lizard”.
Dinosaur typeOrnithopoda
On the menuHerbivore
Length5-7 meters
Height3-4 feet (1.22 meters)
Weight1000 kg
Life expectancyWith all of the studies conducted, the average lifespan of the Camptosaurus has been left unknown.
Legs used to get aroundDiscoveries have shown that this herbivorous dinosaur could walk with two legs (bipedal) or with four legs (quadrupedal). 
Estimated top speedTheir estimated speed is about 15 mph (24.14 kph).
When they livedCamptosaurus lived during the late Jurassic Period which was about 145-156 million years ago.
Where they have been found?Most of the Camptosaurus were retrieved from North America and Europe. The first fossils were found in Utah, USA and were named by Earl Douglas C. Marsh. It also showed that the remains show numerous stages of growth and development. It is believed that they used to stay in shrublands and other areas rich in vegetation.

When & Where

On September 4, 1879, the first Camptosaurus bones were discovered in Albany County, Wyoming by William Reed during his expedition. A very prominent part of the skeleton, which is the curved backbone, gave the paleontologist a sneak peek of what a Camptosaurus looked like before. 

Size & Weight

A Camptosaurus weighs 5 times bigger and heavier than a grizzly bear. Their total weight has been estimated to be about 1000kg or 2000lb. In 1965, A skeleton of a Camptosaurus was displayed in the museum in the pose of a kangaroo on its back legs and used the tail as an aid and recently in 2013 it was mounted into a four-legged pose. The skeleton is said to be 17 ft (5.18 meters) long and 5 ft (1.52 meters) in height.

Mobility & Diet

Camptosaurus were plant-eating dinosaurs whose diet was more on plants. They probably ate conifer needles, ferns, clubmosses, ginkgo and horsetails. At first, it was thought to be a bipedal dinosaur where it uses its long tail as a counterbalance just like what an Allosaurus does. However, due to the evidence which showed that it has a massive body, researchers believed that it was too heavy to walk using only the back legs. So it was assumed that they can move with either using two or four legs. 

Interesting Points

  • Camptosaurus have a horny beak in the mouth which doesn’t have teeth but is still used for eating vegetation
  • The main type of Camptosaurus is the one named by Marsh in 1979, the Camptosaurus dispar
  • According to several studies, they were extinct about 156 million years ago 
  • The same as most types of cerapoda dinosaurs, Camptosaurus possibly have lived in tiny groups. The number of individuals per group would depend on the speed and movement while escaping predators.
  • It was given an initial name as Camptonotus which is the Greek word for “bent back” however it was then changed into Camptosaurus in 1885 because it was discovered the name Camptonotus was used to identify a certain species of crickets.