The Antarctic killer and Elvis crested pompadour, Cryolophosaurus has long been popular since it’s discovery in 1991. It has been an enigma for scientists to classify since it shows traits of several different families, but it is believed to be a ceratosaur related to Dilophosaurus and the later family of Abelisaurs. It was the largest known terrestrial carnivore on the planet in its time of the early Jurassic at over 6.5 meters (21+ feet) and over 465 kg (1100 pounds). It’s most easily identified by its bifurcated, fan-like crest that starts low near the nostrils and flares over the eyes perpendicularly, as well as it’s jaw kink very similar to Dilophosaurus. The snout kink would’ve made its achievable bite force somewhat low due to risk of skull fracturing and torsion stress, but it would’ve allowed it an inescapable grip from its adapted teeth angles on whatever it did sink it’s teeth into. This being the case, it would’ve led with its claws, and finished a weakened animal with strangulation from a decisive bite hold. Being from Antarctica, many imagine it drudging through snow and ice looking for a meal in the twilight sun, but during the early Jurassic this was not the case. The continent of Antarctica was much farther north than it is now, closer to the latitude of where Australia resides currently. Here it was humid and temperate with conifer forest, though Aurora australis (Southern Lights) would’ve still been visible in the winters. It was the apex predator of its environment, and it would’ve been an expert hunter of lesser reptiles, sauropodomorphs, and fish.
- Cryolophosaurus was found in the Hanson formation in Antarctica. It was the first theropod and second dinosaur discovered from the frozen continent. The first was Antarctopelta.
- Before a complete skull was found, scientists imagined Cryolophosaurus was an allosaur. This is why many old reconstructions have a large and full bodied head. After more bones were recovered, it’s been realized it had a streamlined skull with a snout kink like Dilophosaurus and the later Baryonyx. The new skull also showed its brain was primitive compared to other dinosaurs. It appears that it’s brain was devoted more to its powerful senses than problem solving, similar to modern reptiles.
- The specimen Cryolophosaurus is known by is a juvenile. This means it would’ve grown even larger to perhaps as much as 26-28 feet, assuredly making it the largest land carnivore of its time.
- It’s name means “Frozen Crested Lizard.”
Would you like to see Cryolophosaurus in Jurassic World: Alive?
How do you think it would be in game?
Dinosaurs we would Like #22 - Tapejara