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The King of Dinosaurs

Coelophysis bauri

The Museum's oldest dinosaur
  • WhereKirtland Hall of Prehistoric Life

Coelophysis bauri

This is the Museum’s oldest (225 million years) dinosaur, from the Late Triassic Period. At that time, hundreds of these creatures died together during a single cataclysmic event. These remains formed a massive bone bed at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, and a block quarried from the bed came to the Museum in 1969. Our mount, a composite of at least three individual animals, went on display in 2001 after more than nine years of painstaking preparation. It is the most complete mount of its kind in the world. In life, Coelophysis was likely an active predator with long, slender hind limbs; a very long counterbalancing tail; an elongated, pointed head; large eyes; sharp serrated teeth; and fairly long forelimbs, each with three fingers. Adults could grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh as much as 60 pounds.