These slightly built predatory dinosaurs, first named by the famous paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope, had long jaws with sharp and serrated teeth. Coelophysis was a quick and agile dinosaur that hunted prey in packs, bringing other animals down with the fearsome claws of their three-fingered hands. They held their long tails high above their backs for balance.
Many assumptions about Coelophysis behavior are based on interpretations of the remarkable accumulation of hundreds of well-preserved skeletons found at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. George Whitaker discovered skeletons of Coelophysis bauri at Ghost Ranch in the summer of 1947, approximately 38 miles northwest of the town of Española, New Mexico.
|The death curve pose of this Coelophysis is caused by body tissues and|
neck tendons stiffening and shortening. This post-mortem action
bends the head back. Note the sharp claws used to grab prey.
Image © by S. Veatch.