Carnotaurus Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Carnotaurus sastrei

Scientific Name:

Sastre's meat-eating bull

Wild Status:

Cretaceous Period, 72-69.9 MYA







Life Span:



26 feet long, 10 feet tall at the hips, 1.5 tons

Cool Facts:

  • The name “meat-eating bull” comes from the two prominent horns above the animal’s eyes. The exact function of these horns is unknown, but to is believed they were used for display, or possibly to engage in intraspecific shoving contests.
  • Carnotaurus is believed to have been one of the fastest dinosaurs, with a top speed of 30-35 miles per hour. It had unusually long and slender legs, and the processes at the top of its tail vertebrae were shaped to allow greater attachment for the primary locomotor muscles.
  • The tail vertebrae lacked the interlocking processes found in those of other theropods that serve to stiffen the tail for balance, meaning that while it was a swift runner, Carnotaurus was probably incapable of making quick turns and thus relied on ambush to capture its prey.


Carnotaurus had the smallest arms in proportion to its size of any dinosaur, with the forearm being a mere 25 percent the size of the upper arm. Even Tyrannosaurus rex had larger and more useful arms. The hand ended in four digits, unusual for a theropod, although they were fused, immobile, and clawless. Due to the lack of carpal bones, Carnotaurus did not have a functional wrist, thus indicating the forelimbs were most likely vestigial. Several skin impressions were discovered along with the original specimen of Carnotaurus. There is no evidence of feathers, but rather the skin appears to consist of non-overlapping scales 5 millimeters in diameter set in a mosaic pattern and separated by parallel grooves. Unique among theropods, Carnosaurus seems to have bony scutes on its neck, back, and tail. Set in a series of irregular rows and measuring up to 2 inches across, it is believed these knobs served as defensive armor.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom - Animalia Phylum - Chordata Class - Reptilia Order - Saurischia Family - Abelisauridae Genus - Carnotaurus Species - C. sastrei

Conservation & Helping:

The Carnotaurus is currently extinct, and was believed to exist 72 - 69.9 Million Years Ago

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