Quick Compsognathus Facts

  • Compsognathus was about the size of a chicken
  • It weighed as much as a squirrel
  • It could run as fast as an ostrich
  • Ate mostly lizards and insects
  • May have had feathers

About Compsognathus

Compsognathus is a small dinosaur that ran on two feet and lived about 150 million years ago during the late Jurassic Period. It was a carnivore that was about 4 feet long, 10 inches tall at the hips and weighed approximately 7 pounds. Because of its small size it probably preyed on other small dinosaurs, insects and lizards. Although it is small, many paleontologists believe that this dinosaur was pretty fast and could run at speeds around 40 miles per hour.

Compsognathus was first discovered in 1859 in Southern Germany by Dr. Oberndorfer. Another fossil of this dinosaur was found in France during the early 1970s. These two specimens are the only ones that paleontologists have to work with in studying and classifying this small, fast running carnivore.

An interesting fact is that when the first skeleton of Compsognathus was found, it only had two fingers on each hand so paleontologists believed that is what this dinosaur had. However, when the second fossil was found in France, it was clearly evident that this dinosaur had three fingers on each hand instead of two.

Compsognathus Pictures

Compsognathus by Peter Montgomery
Compsognathus by Nobu Tamura
Compsognathus by Martin Garratt
Compsognathus by Nobu Tamura