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What did Coelophysis eat?

Coelophysis ate meat. Its sharp, serrated blade-like teeth are characteristic of a meat eater.

Question 6 of 12

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The skull and jaws of Coelophysis contain more than 100 pointed, serrated, blade-like teeth—these are the teeth of a meat eater. The hands and feet of Coelophysis have long fingers with sharp claws at their tips. The large forelimbs and long tail of Coelophysis indicate it walked/ran on its hind limbs, and the slender, hollow bones are those of a lightly built, agile animal. The large eyes of Coelophysis suggest it was a visual hunter.

Thus, the anatomy of Coelophysis is the anatomy of a voracious, ground-running hunter.

We know that Coelophysis ate small crocodiles and also ate baby Coelophysis (cannibalism) because the bones of these prey animals are known from the abdominal cavities and coprolites (fossil feces) of large Coelophysis skeletons. It is a reasonable inference that a Coelophysis ate any animal smaller than itself, especially lizard-sized Triassic reptiles and early mammals. Baby Coelophysis were small, bird-sized animals, and they probably ate insects as well.